Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Author(s): Hogg, James


IT appears from tradition, as well as some parish registers
still extant, that the lands of Dalcastle (or
Dalchastel, as it is often spelled) were possessed by a
family of the name of Colwan, about one hundred and
fifty years ago, and for at least a century previous to
that period. That family was supposed to have been a
branch of the ancient family of Colquhoun, and it is
certain that from it spring the Cowans that spread
towards the Border. I find, that in the year 1687,
George Colwan succeeded his uncle of the same
name, in the lands of Dalchastel and Balgrennan;
and this being all I can gather of the family from
history, to tradition I must appeal for the remainder
of the motley adventures of that house. But of the
matter furnished by the latter of these powerful monitors,
I have no reason to complain: It has been
handed down to the world in unlimited abundance;
and I am certain, that in recording the hideous events
which follow, I am only relating to the greater part
of the inhabitants of at least four counties of Scotland,
matters of which they were before perfectly
well informed.
This George was a rich man, or supposed to be
so, and was married, when considerably advanced in
life, to the sole heiress and reputed daughter of a
Baillie Orde, of Glasgow. This proved a conjunction
any thing but agreeable to the parties contracting.
It is well known, that the Reformation principles had
long before that time taken a powerful hold of the
hearts and affections of the people of Scotland, although
the feeling was by no means general, or in
equal degrees; and it so happened that this married
couple felt completely at variance on the subject.
Granting it to have been so, one would have thought
that the laird, owing to his retired situation, would
have been the one that inclined to the stern doctrines
of the reformers; and that the young and gay dame
from the city would have adhered to the free principles
cherished by the court party, and indulged in
rather to extremity, in opposition to their severe and
carping contemporaries.
The contrary, however, happened to be the case.
The laird was what his country neighbours called "a
droll, careless chap," with a very limited proportion of
the fear of God in his heart, and very nearly as little
of the fear of man. The laird had not intentionally
wronged or offended either of the parties, and perceived
not the necessity of deprecating their vengeance.
He had hitherto believed that he was living
in most cordial terms with the greater part of the inhabitants
of the earth, and with the powers above in
particular: but woe be unto him if he was not soon
convinced of the fallacy of such damning security!
for his lady was the most severe and gloomy of all
bigots to the principles of the Reformation. Hers
were not the tenets of the great reformers, but theirs
mightily overstrained and deformed. Theirs was an
unguent hard to be swallowed; but hers was that unguent
embittered and overheated until nature could
not longer bear it. She had imbibed her ideas from the
doctrines of one flaming predestinarian divine alone;
and these were so rigid, that they became a stumbling--
block to many of his brethren, and a mighty handle
for the enemies of his party to turn the machine of
the state against them.
The wedding festivities at Dalcastle partook of all
the gaiety, not of that stern age, but of one previous
to it. There was feasting, dancing, piping, and singing:
the liquors were handed around in great fulness,
the ale in large wooden bickers, and the brandy in
capacious horns of oxen. The laird gave full scope
to his homely glee. He danced, — he snapped his
fingers to the music, — clapped his hands and shouted
at the turn of the tune. He saluted every girl in the
hall whose appearance was any thing tolerable, and
requested of their sweethearts to take the same freedom
with his bride, by way of retaliation. But there
she sat at the head of the hall in still and blooming
beauty, absolutely refusing to tread a single measure
with any gentleman there. The only enjoyment in
which she appeared to partake, was in now and then
stealing a word of sweet conversation with her favourite
pastor about divine things; for he had accompanied
her home after marrying her to her husband,
to see her fairly settled in her new dwelling. He
addressed her several times by her new name, Mrs.
Colwan; but she turned away her head disgusted,
and looked with pity and contempt towards the old
inadvertent sinner, capering away in the height of his
unregenerated mirth. The minister perceived the
workings of her pious mind, and thenceforward addressed
her by the courteous title of Lady Dalcastle,
which sounded somewhat better, as not coupling her
name with one of the wicked: and there is too great
reason to believe, that for all the solemn vows she had
come under, and these were of no ordinary binding,
particularly on the laird's part, she at that time despised,
if not abhorred him, in her heart.
The good parson again blessed her, and went away.
She took leave of him with tears in her eyes, entreating
him often to visit her in that heathen land of the
Amorite, the Hittite, and the Girgashite: to which
he assented, on many solemn and qualifying conditions,
— and then the comely bride retired to her chamber
to pray.
It was customary, in those days, for the bride's-man
and maiden, and a few select friends, to visit the new
married couple after they had retired to rest, and drink
a cup to their healthy, their happiness, and a numerous
posterity. But the laird delighted not in this: he
wished to have his jewel to himself; and, slipping
away quietly from his jovial party, he retired to his
chamber to his beloved, and bolted the door. He
found her engaged with the writings of the Evangelists,
and terribly demure. The laird went up to
caress her; but she turned away her head, and spoke
of the follies of aged men, and something of the broad
way that leadeth to destruction. The laird did not
thoroughly comprehend this allusion; but being considerably
flustered by drinking, and disposed to take
all in good part, he only remarked, as he took off his
shoes and stockings, "that whether the way was broad
or narrow, it was time that they were in their bed."
"Sure, Mr. Colwan, you won't go to bed to-night,
at such an important period of your life, without first
saying prayers for yourself and me."
When she said this, the laird had his head down
almost to the ground, loosing his shoe-buckle; but
when he heard of prayers, on such a night, he raised
his face suddenly up, which was all over as flushed
and red as a rose, and answered, —
"Prayers, Mistress! Lord help your crazed head,
is this a night for prayers?"
He had better have held his peace. There was
such a torrent of profound divinity poured out upon
him, that the laird became ashamed, both of himself
and his new-made spouse, and wist not what to say:
but the brandy helped him out.
"It strikes me, my dear, that religious devotion
would be somewhat out of place to-night," said he.
"Allowing that it is ever so beautiful, and ever so
jest-book, verse about, and would render the life of
man a medley of absurdity and confusion."
But against the cant of the bigot or the hypocrite,
no reasoning can aught avail. If you would argue
until the end of life, the infallible creature must alone
be right. So it proved with the laird. One Scripture
text followed another, not in the least connected, and
one sentence of the profound Mr. Wringhim's sermons
after another, proving the duty of family worship,
till the laird lost patience, and, tossing himself
into bed, said, carelessly, that he would leave
that duty upon her shoulders for one night.
The meek mind of Lady Dalcastle was somewhat
disarranged by this sudden evolution. She felt that
she was left rather in an awkward situation. However,
to show her unconscionable spouse that she was
resolved to hold fast her integrity, she kneeled down
and prayed in terms so potent, that she deemed she
was sure of making an impression on him. She did
so; for in a short time the laird began to utter a response
so fervent, that she was utterly astounded, and
fairly driven from the chain of her orisons. He began,
in truth, to sound a nasal bugle of no ordinary
calibre, — the notes being little inferior to those of a
military trumpet. The lady tried to proceed, but
every returning note from the bed burst on her ear
with a louder twang, and a longer peal, till the concord
of sweet sounds became so truly pathetic, that
the meek spirit of the dame was quite overcome; and
after shedding a flood of tears, she arose from her
knees, and retired to the, chimney-corner with her
Bible in her lap, there to spend the hours in holy
meditation till such time as the inebriated trumpeter
should awaken to a sense of propriety.
The laird did not awake in any reasonable time;
for, he being overcome with fatigue and wassail, his
sleep became sounder, and his Morphean measures
more intense. These varied a little in their structure;
but the general run of the bars sounded something
in this way, — "Hic-hoc-wheew!" It was
most profoundly ludicrous; and could not have missed
exciting risibility in any one, save a pious, a disappointed,
and humbled bride.
children, or sweethearts, save in the way of dreaming
about them; but as his spirit began again byThe good dame wept bitterly. She could not for
her life go and awaken the monster, and request him
to make room for her: but she retired somewhere;
for the laird, on awaking next morning, found that
he was still lying alone. His sleep had been of the
deepest and most genuine sort; and all the time that
it lasted, he had never once thought of either wives,
slow degrees to verge towards the boundaries of reason,
it became lighter and more buoyant from the
effects of deep repose, and his dreams partook of that
buoyancy, yea, to a degree hardly expressible. He
dreamed of the reel, the jig, the strathspey, and the
corant; and the elasticity of his frame was such,
that he was bounding over the heads of the maidens,
and making his feet skimmer against the ceiling,
enjoying, the while, the most extatic emotions. These
grew too fervent for the shackles of the drowsy god
to restrain. The nasal bugle ceased its prolonged
sounds in one moment, and a sort of hectic laugh
took its place. "Keep it going, — play up, you devils!"
cried the laird, without changing his position
on the pillow. But this exertion to hold the fiddlers
at their work, fairly awakened the delighted dreamer;
and though he could not refrain from continuing his
laugh, he at length, by tracing out a regular chain
of facts, came to be sensible of his real situation.
"Rabina, where are you? What's become of you,
my dear?" cried the laird. But there was no voice,
nor any one that answered or regarded. He flung
open the curtains, thinking to find her still on her
knees, as he had seen her; but she was not there,
either sleeping or waking. "Rabina! Mrs. Colwan!"
shouted he, as loud as he could call, and then
added, in the same breath, "God save the king, —
I have lost my wife!"
He sprung up and opened the casement: the daylight
was beginning to streak the east, for it was
spring, and the nights were short, and the mornings
very long. The laird half dressed himself in an instant,
and strode through every room in the house,
opening the windows as he went, and scrutinizing
every bed and every corner. He came into the hall
where the wedding festival had held; and, as he
opened the various window-boards, loving couples
flew off like hares surprised too late in the morning
among the early braird. "Hoo-boo! Fie, be frightened!"
cried the laird. "Fie, rin like fools, as if
ye were caught in an ill turn!" — His bride was not
among them; so he was obliged to betake himself to
farther search. "She will be praying in some corner,
poor woman," said he to himself. "It is an
unlucky thing this praying. But, for my part, I fear
I have behaved very ill; and I must endeavour to
make amends."
The laird continued his search, and at length found
his beloved in the same bed with her Glasgow cousin,
who had acted as bride's-maid. "You sly and malevolent
imp," said the laird; "you have played me
such a trick when I was fast asleep! I have not known
a frolic so clever, and, at the same time, so severe.
Come along, you baggage you!"
"Sir, I will let you know, that I detest your principles
and your person alike," said she. "It shall
never be said, Sir, that my person was at the controul
of a heathenish man of Belial, — a dangler among
the daughters of women, — a promiscuous dancer, —
and a player at unlawful games. Forego your rudeness,
Sir, I say, and depart away from my presence
and that of my kinswoman."
"Come along, I say, my charming Rab. If you
were the pink of all puritans, and the saint of all
saints, you are my wife, and must do as I command
"Sir, I will sooner lay down my life than be subjected
to your godless will; therefore, I say, desist,
and begone with you."
But the laird regarded none of these testy sayings:
he rolled her in a blanket, and bore her triumphantly
away to his chamber, taking care to keep a fold or
two of the blanket always rather near to her mouth,
in case of any outrageous forthcoming of noise.
The next day at breakfast the bride was long in
making her appearance. Her maid asked to see her;
but George did not choose that any body should see
her but himself: he paid her several visits, and always
turned the key as he came out. At length
breakfast was served; and during the time of refreshment
the laird tried to break several jokes; but it was
remarked, that they wanted their accustomed brilliancy,
and that his nose was particularly red at the
Matters, without all doubt, had been very bad between
the new-married couple; for in the course of
the day the lady deserted her quarters, and returned
to her father's house in Glasgow, after having been
a night on the road; stage-coaches and steam-boats
having then no existence in that quarter. Though
Baillie Orde had acquiesced in his wife's asseveration
regarding the likeness of their only daughter to her
father, he never loved or admired her greatly; therefore
this behaviour nothing astounded him. He questioned
her strictly as to the grievous offence committed
against her; and could discover nothing that
warranted a procedure so fraught with disagreeable
consequences. So, after mature deliberation, the baillie
addressed her as follows
"Ay, ay, Raby! An' sae I find that Dalcastle
has actually refused to say prayers with you when
you ordered him; an' has guidit you in a rude indelicate
manner, outstepping the respect due to my daughter,
— as my daughter. But wi' regard to what is due
to his own wife, of that he's a better judge nor me.
However, since he has behaved in that manner to
my daughter, I shall be revenged on him for aince;
for I shall return the obligation to ane nearer to him;
that is, I shall take pennyworths of his wife, — an'
let him lick at that."
"What do you mean, Sir?" said the astonished
"I mean to be revenged on that villain Dalcastle,"
said he, "for what he has done to my daughter,
Come hither, Mrs. Colwan, you shall pay for this."
So saying, the baillie began to inflict corporal punishment
on the runaway wife. His strokes were
not indeed very deadly, but he made a mighty flourish
in the infliction, pretending to be in a great rage
only at the Laird of Dalcastle. "Villain that he is!"
exclaimed he, "I shall teach him to behave in such
a manner to a child of mine, be she as she may;
since I cannot get at himself, I shall lounder her that
is nearest to him in life. Take you that, and that,
Mrs. Colwan, for your husband's impertinence!"
The poor afflicted woman wept and prayed, but
the baillie would not abate aught of his severity. After
fuming, and beating her with many stripes, far
drawn, and lightly laid down, he took her up to her
chamber, five stories high, locked her in, and there
he fed her on bread and water, all to be revenged on
the presumptuous Laird of Dalcastle; but ever and
anon, as the baillie came down the stair from carrying
his daughter's meal, he said to himself, "I shall
make the sight of the laird the blithest she ever saw
in her life."
Lady Dalcastle got plenty of time to read, and
pray, and meditate; but she was at a great loss for
one to dispute with about religious tenets; for she
found, that without this advantage, about which
there was a perfect rage at that time, her reading,
and learning of Scripture texts, and sentences of intricate
doctrine, availed her nought; so she was often
driven to sit at her casement and look out for
the approach of the heathenish Laird of Dalcastle.
That hero, after a considerable lapse of time, at
length made his appearance. Matters were not hard
to adjust; for his lady found that there was no refuge
for her in her father's house; and so, after some
sighs and tears, she accompanied her husband home.
For all that had passed, things went on no better.
She would convert the laird in spite of his teeth:
The laird would not be converted. She would have
the laird to say family prayers, both morning and
evening: The laird would neither pray morning nor
evening. He would not even sing psalms, and kneel
beside her, while she performed the exercise; neither
would he converse at all times, and in all places,
about the sacred mysteries of religion, although his
lady took occasion to contradict flatly every assertion
that he made, in order that she might spiritualize
him by drawing him into argument.
The laird kept his temper a long while, but at
length his patience wore out; he cut her short in all
her futile attempts at spiritualization, and mocked at
her wire-drawn degrees of faith, hope, and repentance.
He also dared to doubt of the great standard
doctrine of absolute predestination, which put the
crown on the lady's christian resentment. She declared
her helpmate to be a limb of Antichrist, and
one with whom no regenerated person could associate.
She therefore bespoke a separate establishment, and
before the expiry of the first six months, the arrangements
of the separation were amicably adjusted. The
upper, or third story of the old mansion-house, was
awarded to the lady for her residence. She had a separate
door, a separate stair, a separate garden, and
walks that in no instance intersected the laird's; so
that one would have thought the separation complete.
They had each their own parties, selected from their
own sort of people; and though the laird never once
chafed himself about the lady's companies, it was
not long before she began to intermeddle about some
of his.
"Who is that fat bouncing dame that visits the
laird so often, and always by herself?" said she to
her maid Martha one day.
"O dear, mem, how can I ken? We're banished
frae our acquaintances here, as weel as frae the sweet
gospel ordinances."
"Find me out who that jolly dame is, Martha.
You, who hold communion with the household of
this ungodly man, can be at no loss to attain this information.
I observe that she always casts her eye
up toward our windows, both in coming and going;
and I suspect that she seldom departs from the house
That same evening Martha came with the information,
that this august visitor was a Miss Logan,
an old and intimate acquaintance of the laird's, and
a very worthy respectable lady, of good connections,
whose parents had lost their patrimony in the civil
"Ha! very well!" said the lady; "very well,
Martha! But, nevertheless, go thou and watch this
respectable lady's motions and behaviour the next
time she comes to visit the laird, — and the next after
that. You will not, I see, lack opportunities."
Martha's information turned out of that nature,
that prayers were said in the uppermost story of Dalcastle-house
against the Canaanitish woman, every
night and every morning; and great discontent prevailed
there, even to anathemas and tears. Letter
after letter was dispatched to Glasgow; and at
length, to the lady's great consolation, the Rev. Mr.
Wringhim arrived safely and devoutly in her elevated
sanctuary. Marvellous was the conversation between
these gifted people. Wringhim had held in his doctrines
that there were eight different kinds of FAITH,
all perfectly distinct in their operations and effects.
But the lady, in her secluded state, had discovered
other five, — making twelve in all: the adjusting of
the existence or fallacy of these five faiths served for
a most enlightened discussion of nearly seventeen
hours; in the course of which the two got warm in
their arguments, always in proportion as they receded
from nature, utility, and common sense.
Wringhim at length got into unwonted fervour
about some disputed point between one of these
member, what is to be done with this case of open
and avowed iniquity?"
The minister was struck dumb. He leaned him
back on his chair, stroked his beard, hemmed —
considered, and hemmed again; and then said, in
an altered and softened tone, — "Why, that is a
secondary consideration; you mean the case between
your husband and Miss Logan?"
"The same, Sir. I am scandalised at such intimacies
going on under my nose. The sufferance
of it is a great and crying evil."
"Evil, madam, may be either operative, or passive.
To them it is an evil, but to us none. We
have no more to do with the sins of the wicked
and unconverted here, than with those of an infidel
Turk; for all earthly bonds and fellowships are
absorbed and swallowed up in the holy community
of the Reformed Church. However, if it is your
wish, I shall take him to task, and reprimand and
humble him in such a manner, that he shall be
ashamed of his doings, and renounce such deeds
for ever, out of mere self-respect, though all un
sanctified the heart, as well as the deed, may be.
To the wicked, all things are wicked; but to the
just, all things are just and right."
"Ah, that is a sweet and comfortable saying,
Mr.Wringhim! How delightful to think that a justified
person can do no wrong! Who would not
envy the liberty wherewith we are made free? Go
to my husband, that poor unfortunate, blindfolded
person, and open his eyes to his degenerate and
sinful state; for well are you fitted to the task."
"Yea, I will go in unto him, and confound him.
I will lay the strong holds of sin and Satan as flat
before my face, as the dung that is spread out to
fatten the land."
"Master, there's a gentleman at the fore-door
wants a private word o' ye."
"Tell him I'm engaged: I can't see any gentleman
to-night. But I shall attend on him to-morrow
as soon as he pleases."
"He's coming straight in, Sir. — Stop a wee
bit, Sir, my master is engaged. He cannot see you
at present, Sir."
"Stand aside, thou Moabite! my mission admits
of no delay. I come to save him from the jaws of
"An that be the case, Sir, it maks a wide difference;
an', as the danger may threaten us a', I
fancy I may as weel let ye gang by as fight wi' ye,
sin' ye seem sae intent on't. — The man says he's
comin' to save ye, an' canna stop, Sir. — Here he is."
The laird was going to break out into a volley
of wrath against Waters, his servant; but before
he got a word pronounced, the Rev. Mr. Wringhim
had stepped inside the room, and Waters had retired,
shutting the door behind him.
No introduction could be more mal-a-propos: it
is impossible; for at that very moment the laird and
Arabella Logan were both sitting on one seat, and
both looking on one book, when the door opened.
"What is it, Sir?" said the laird fiercely.
"A message of the greatest importance, Sir,"
said the divine, striding unceremoniously up to the
chimney, — turning his back to the fire, and his face
to the culprits. — "I think you should know me,
Sir?" continued he, looking displeasedly at the
laird, with his face half turned round.
"I think I should," returned the laird. "You
are a Mr. How's-tey-ca'-him, of Glasgow, who did
me the worst turn ever I got done to me in my life.
You gentry are always ready to do a man such a
turn. Pray, Sir, did you ever do a good job for any
one to counterbalance that? for, if you have not,
you ought to be —."
and inviolate the vows which I laid upon you that
day? Answer me?""Hold, Sir, I say! None of your profanity before
me. If I do evil to any one on such occasions,
it is because he will have it so; therefore, the evil
is not of my doing. I ask you, Sir, — before God
and this witness, I ask you, have you kept solemnly
"Has the partner whom you bound me to, kept
hers inviolate? Answer me that, Sir? None can
better do so than you, Mr. How's-tey-ca'-you."
"So, then, you confess your backslidings, and
avow the profligacy of your life. And this person
here, is, I suppose, the partner of your iniquity, —
she whose beauty hath caused you to err! Stand up,
both of you, till I rebuke you, and show you what
you are in the eyes of God and man."
"In the first place, stand you still there, till I
tell you what you are in the eyes of God and man:
You are, Sir, a presumptuous, self-conceited pedagogue,
a stirrer up of strife and commotion in
church, in state, in families, and communities. You
are one, Sir, whose righteousness consists in splitting
the doctrines of Calvin into thousands of undistinguishable
films, and in setting up a system of
justifying-grace against all breaches of all laws, moral
or divine. In short, Sir, you are a mildew, — a
canker-worm in the bosom of the Reformed Church,
generating a disease of which she will never be
purged, but by the shedding of blood. Go thou
in peace, and do these abominations no more; but
humble thyself, lest a worse reproof come upon
Wringhim heard all this without flinching. He
now and then twisted his mouth in disdain, treasuring
up, mean time, his vengeance against the two
aggressors; for he felt that he had them on the
hip, and resolved to pour out his vengeance and indignation
upon them. Sorry am I, that the shackles
of modern decorum restrain me from penning
that famous rebuke; fragments of which have been
attributed to every divine of old notoriety throughout
Scotland. But I have it by heart; and a
glorious morsel it is to put into the hands of certain
incendiaries. The metaphors were so strong,
and so appalling, that Miss Logan could only stand
them a very short time: she was obliged to withdraw
in confusion. The laird stood his ground
with much ado, though his face was often crimsoned
over with the hues of shame and anger. Several
times he was on the point of turning the officious
sycophant to the door; but good manners, and an
inherent respect that he entertained for the clergy,
as the immediate servants of the Supreme Being,
restrained him.
Wringhim, perceiving these symptoms of resentment,
took them for marks of shame and contrition,
and pushed his reproaches farther than ever
divine ventured to do in a similar case. When he
had finished, to prevent further discussion, he walked
slowly and majestically out of the apartment,
making his robes to swing behind him in a most
magisterial manner; he being, without doubt, elated
with his high conquest. He went to the upper
story, and related to his metaphysical associate his
wonderful success; how he had driven the dame
from the house in tears and deep confusion, and left
the backsliding laird in such a quandary of shame
and repentance, that he could neither articulate a
word, nor lift up his countenance. The dame thanked
him most cordially, lauding his friendly zeal and
powerful eloquence; and then the two again set
keenly to the splitting of hairs, and making distinctions
in religion where none existed.
They being both children of adoption, and secured
from falling into snares, or any way under
the power of the wicked one, it was their custom,
on each visit, to sit up a night in the same apartment,
for the sake of sweet spiritual converse; but
that time, in the course of the night, they differed
so materially on a small point, somewhere between
justification and final election, that the minister,
in the heat of his zeal, sprung from his seat, paced
the floor, and maintained his point with such ardour,
that Martha was alarmed, and, thinking they were
going to fight, and that the minister would be a
hard match for her mistress, she put on some clothes,
and twice left her bed and stood listening at the
back of the door, ready to burst in should need
require it. Should any one think this picture overstrained,
I can assure him that it is taken from nature
and from truth; but I will not likewise aver,
that the theologist was neither crazed nor inebriated.
If the listener's words were to be relied on,
there was no love, no accommodating principle
manifested between the two, but a fiery burning
zeal, relating to points of such minor importance,
that a true Christian would blush to hear them
mentioned, and the infidel and profane make a
handle of them to turn our religion to scorn.
Great was the dame's exultation at the triumph
of her beloved pastor over her sinful neighbours
in the lower parts of the house; and she boasted
of it to Martha in high-sounding terms. But it
was of short duration; for, in five weeks after that,
Arabella Logan came to reside with the laird as
his house-keeper, sitting at his table, and carrying
the keys as mistress-substitute of the mansion. The
lady's grief and indignation were now raised to a
higher pitch than ever; and she set every agent
to work, with whom she had any power, to effect
a separation between these two suspected ones. Remonstrance
was of no avail: George laughed at
them who tried such a course, and retained his
house-keeper, while the lady gave herself up to
utter despair; for though she would not consort
with her husband herself, she could not endure
that any other should do so.
But, to countervail this grievous offence, our
saintly and afflicted dame, in due time, was safely
delivered of a fine boy, whom the laird acknowledged
as his son and heir, and had him christened
by his own name, and nursed in his own premises.
He gave the nurse permission to take the boy to
his mother's presence if ever she should desire to see
him; but, strange as it may appear, she never once
desired to see him from the day that he was born.
The boy grew up, and was a healthful and happy
child; and, in the course of another year, the lady
presented him with a brother. A brother he certainly
was, in the eye of the law, and it is more
than probable that he was his brother in reality.
But the laird thought otherwise; and, though he
knew and acknowledged that he was obliged to
support and provide for him, he refused to acknowledge
him in other respects. He neither would
countenance the banquet, nor take the baptismal
vows on him in the child's name; of course, the
poor boy had to live and remain an alien from the
visible church for a year and a day; at which time,
Mr. Wringhim, out of pity and kindness, took the
lady herself as sponsor for the boy, and baptized him
by the name of Robert Wringhim, — that being the
noted divine's own name.
George was brought up with his father, and educated
partly at the parish-school, and partly at home,
by a tutor hired for the purpose. He was a generous
and kind-hearted youth; always ready to
oblige, and hardly ever dissatisfied with any body.
Robert was brought up with Mr. Wringhim, the
laird paying a certain allowance for him yearly; and
there the boy was early inured to all the sternness
and severity of his pastor's arbitrary and unyielding
creed. He was taught to pray twice every day,
and seven times on Sabbath days; but he was
only to pray for the elect, and, like David of old,
doom all that were aliens from God to destruction.
He had never, in that family into which he had
been as it were adopted, heard ought but evil
spoken of his reputed father and brother; consequently
he held them in utter abhorrence, and
prayed against them every day, often "that the
old hoary sinner might be cut off in the full flush
of his iniquity, and be carried quick into hell;
and that the young stem of the corrupt trunk might
also be taken from a world that he disgraced, but
that his sins might be pardoned, because he knew
no better."
Such were the tenets in which it would appear
young Robert was bred. He was an acute boy, an
excellent learner, had ardent and ungovernable passions,
and withal, a sternness of demeanour from
which other boys shrunk. He was the best grammarian,
the best reader, writer, and accountant in
the various classes that he attended, and was fond
of writing essays on controverted points of theology,
for which he got prizes, and great praise from his
guardian and mother. George was much behind
him in scholastic acquirements, but greatly his superior
in personal prowess, form, feature, and all
that constitutes gentility in deportment and appearance.
The laird had often manifested to Miss
Logan an earnest wish that the two young men
should never meet, or at all events that they should
be as little conversant as possible; and Miss Logan,
who was as much attached to George as if he had
been her own son, took every precaution, while he
was a boy, that he should never meet with his brother;
but as they advanced towards manhood, this
became impracticable. The lady was removed from
her apartments in her husband's house to Glasgow,
to her great content; and all to prevent the young
laird being tainted with the company of her and her
second son; for the laird had felt the effects of the
principles they professed, and dreaded them more
than persecution, fire, and sword. During all the
dreadful times that had overpast, though the laird
had been a moderate man, he had still leaned to the
side of the kingly prerogative, and had escaped confiscation
and fines, without ever taking any active
hand in suppressing the Covenanters. But after
experiencing a specimen of their tenets and manner
in his wife, from a secret favourer of them and their
doctrines, he grew alarmed at the prevalence of such
stern and factious principles, now that there was no
check nor restraint upon them; and from that time
he began to set himself against them, joining with
the cavalier party of that day in all their proceedings.

It so happened, that, under the influence of the
Earls of Seafield and Tullibardine, he was returned
for a Member of Parliament in the famous session
that sat at Edinburgh, when the Duke of Queensberry
was commissioner, and in which party spirit
ran to such an extremity. The young laird went
with his father to the court, and remained in town
all the time that the session lasted; and as all interested
people of both factions flocked to the town
at that period, so the important Mr. Wringhim was
there among the rest, during the greater part of the
time, blowing the coal of revolutionary principles
with all his might, in every society to which he
could obtain admission. He was a great favourite
with some of the west country gentlemen of that
faction, by reason of his unbending impudence. No
opposition could for a moment cause him either to
blush, or retract one item that he had advanced.
Therefore the Duke of Argyle and his friends
made such use of him as sportsmen often do of terriers,
to start the game, and make a great yelping
noise to let them know whither the chace is proceeding.
They often did this out of sport, in order
to teaze their opponent; for of all pesterers
that ever fastened on man he was the most insufferable:
knowing that his coat protected him from
manual chastisement, he spared no acrimony, and
delighted in the chagrin and anger of those with
whom he contended. But he was sometimes likewise
of real use to the heads of the presbyterian
faction, and therefore was admitted to their tables,
and of course conceived himself a very great man.
His ward accompanied him; and very shortly
after their arrival in Edinburgh, Robert, for the
first time, met with the young laird his brother, in
a match at tennis. The prowess and agility of the
young squire drew forth the loudest plaudits of approval
from his associates, and his own exertion
alone carried the game every time on the one side,
and that so far as all along to count three for their
one. The hero's name soon ran round the circle,
and when his brother Robert, who was an onlooker,
learned who it was that was gaining so much applause,
he came and stood close beside him all the
time that the game lasted, always now and then
putting in a cutting remark by way of mockery.
George could not help perceiving him, not only
on account of his impertinent remarks, but he, moreover,
stood so near him that he several times impeded
him in his rapid evolutions, and of course got himself
shoved aside in no very ceremonious way. Instead
of making him keep his distance, these rude
shocks and pushes, accompanied sometimes with
hasty curses, only made him cling the closer to this
king of the game. He seemed determined to maintain
his right to his place as an onlooker, as well as
any of those engaged in the game, and if they had
tried him at an argument, he would have carried his
point: or perhaps he wished to quarrel with this
spark of his jealousy and aversion, and draw the
attention of the gay crowd to himself by these
means; for, like his guardian, he knew no other
pleasure but what consisted in opposition. George
took him for some impertinent student of divinity,
rather set upon a joke than any thing else. He perceived
a lad with black clothes, and a methodistical
face, whose countenance and eye he disliked exceedingly,
several times in his way, and that was all the
notice he took of him the first time they two met.
But the next day, and every succeeding one, the
same devilish-looking youth attended him as constantly
as his shadow; was always in his way as
with intention to impede him, and ever and anon
his deep and malignant eye met those of his elder
brother with a glance so fierce that it sometimes
startled him.
good as keep without the range of the ball," said
he.The very next time that George was engaged at
tennis, he had not struck the ball above twice till
the same intrusive being was again in his way. The
party played for considerable stakes that day, namely,
a dinner and wine at the Black Bull tavern; and
George, as the hero and head of his party, was much
interested in its honour; consequently, the sight of
this moody and hellish-looking student affected him
in no very pleasant manner. "Pray, Sir, be so
"Is there any law or enactment that can compel
me to do so?" said the other, biting his lip with
"If there is not, they are here that shall compel
you," returned George: "so, friend, I rede you to
be on your guard."
As he said this, a flush of anger glowed in his
handsome face, and flashed from his sparkling blue
eye; but it was a stranger to both, and momently
took its departure. The black-coated youth set up
his cap before, brought his heavy brows over his
deep dark eyes, put his hands in the pockets of his
black plush breeches, and stepped a little farther
into the semi-circle, immediately on his brother's
right hand, than he had ever ventured to do before.
There he set himself firm on his legs, and, with a
face as demure as death, seemed determined to keep
his ground. He pretended to be following the ball
with his eyes; but every moment they were glancing
aside at George. One of the competitors
chanced to say rashly, in the moment of exultation,
"That's a d—d fine blow, George!" On which
the intruder took up the word, as characteristic of
the competitors, and repeated it every stroke that
was given, making such a ludicrous use of it, that
several of the on-lookers were compelled to laugh
immoderately; but the players were terribly nettled
at it, as he really contrived, by dint of sliding in
some canonical terms, to render the competitors and
their game ridiculous.
But matters at length came to a crisis that put
them beyond sport. George, in flying backward to
gain the point at which the ball was going to light,
came inadvertently so rudely in contact with this
obstreperous interloper, that he not only overthrew
him, but also got a grievous fall over his legs; and,
as he arose, the other made a spurn at him with his
foot, which, if it had hit to its aim, would undoubtedly
have finished the course of the young laird of
Dalcastle and Balgrennan. George, being irritated
beyond measure, as may well be conceived, especially
at the deadly stroke aimed at him, struck the assailant
with his racket, rather slightly, but so that his
mouth and nose gushed out blood; and, at the same
time, he said, turning to his cronies, — "Does any
of you know who the infernal puppy is?"
"Do you not know, Sir?" said one of the onlookers,
a stranger: "The gentleman is your own
brother, Sir — Mr. Robert Wringhim Colwan!"
"No, not Colwan, Sir," said Robert, putting his
hands in his pockets, and setting himself still farther
forward than before, — "not a Colwan, Sir; henceforth
I disclaim the name."
"No, certainly not," repeated George: "My
mother's son you may be, — but not a Colwan!
There you are right." Then turning round to his
informer, he said, "Mercy be about us, Sir! is
this the crazy minister's son from Glasgow?"
This question was put in the irritation of the moment;
but it was too rude, and too far out of place,
and no one deigned any answer to it. He felt the
reproof, and felt it deeply; seeming anxious for some
opportunity to make an acknowledgment, or some
In the meantime, young Wringhim was an object
to all of the uttermost disgust. The blood flowing
from his mouth and nose he took no pains to stem,
neither did he so much as wipe it away; so that it
spread over all his cheeks, and breast, even off at his
toes. In that state did he take up his station in the
middle of the competitors; and he did not now keep
his place, but ran about, impeding every one who
attempted to make at the ball. They loaded him
with execrations, but it availed nothing; he seemed
courting persecution and buffetings, keeping stedfastly
to his old joke of damnation, and marring the
game so completely, that, in spite of every effort on
the part of the players, he forced them to stop their
game, and give it up. He was such a rueful-looking
object, covered with blood, that none of them had
the heart to kick him, although it appeared the only
thing he wanted; and as for George, he said not
another word to him, either in anger or reproof.
When the game was fairly given up, and the party
were washing their hands in the stone fount, some of
them besought Robert Wringhim to wash himself;
but he mocked at them, and said, he was much better
as he was. George, at length, came forward abashedly
toward him, and said, — "I have been greatly to
blame, Robert, and am very sorry for what I have
done. But, in the first instance, I erred through
ignorance, not knowing you were my brother, which
you certainly are; and, in the second, through a
momentary irritation, for which I am ashamed. I
pray you, therefore, to pardon me, and give me your
As he said this, he held out his hand toward his
polluted brother; but the froward predestinarian took
not his from his breeches pocket, but lifting his foot,
he gave his brother's hand a kick. "I'll give you
what will suit such a hand better than mine," said
he, with a sneer. And then, turning lightly about,
he added, — "Are there to be no more of these
d—d fine blows, gentlemen? For shame, to give
"This is too bad," said George. "But, since it
is thus, I have the less to regret." And, having
made this general remark, he took no more note of
the uncouth aggressor. But the persecution of the
latter terminated not on the play-ground: he ranked
up among them, bloody and disgusting as he was,
and, keeping close by his brother's side, he marched
along with the party all the way to the Black Bull.
Before they got there, a great number of boys and
idle people had surrounded them, hooting and incommoding
them exceedingly, so that they were glad
to get into the inn; and the unaccountable monster
actually tried to get in alongst with them, to make
one of the party at dinner. But the innkeeper and
his men, getting the hint, by force prevented him
from entering, although he attempted it again and
again, both by telling lies and offering a bribe. Finding
he could not prevail, he set to exciting the mob
at the door to acts of violence; in which he had like
to have succeeded. The landlord had no other shift,
at last, but to send privately for two officers, and have
him carried to the guard-house; and the hilarity and
joy of the party of young gentlemen, for the evening,
was quite spoiled, by the inauspicious termination
of their game.
The Rev. Robert Wringhim was now to send for,
to release his beloved ward. The messenger found
him at table, with a number of the leaders of the
Whig faction, the Marquis of Annandale being in
the chair; and the prisoner's note being produced,
Wringhim read it aloud, accompanying it with some
explanatory remarks. The circumstances of the case
being thus magnified and distorted, it excited the utmost
abhorrence, both of the deed and the perpetrators,
among the assembled faction. They declaimed
against the act as an unnatural attempt on the character,
and even the life, of an unfortunate brother,
who had been expelled from his father's house. And,
as party spirit was the order of the day, an attempt
was made to lay the burden of it to that account. In
short, the young culprit got some of the best blood
of the land to enter as his securities, and was set at
liberty. But when Wringhim perceived the plight
that he was in, he took him, as he was, and presented
him to his honourable patrons. This raised the indignation
against the young laird and his associates
a thousand fold, which actually roused the party to
temporary madness. They were, perhaps, a little
excited by the wine and spirits they had swallowed;
else a casual quarrel between two young men, at tennis,
could not have driven them to such extremes. But
certain it is, that from one at first arising to address
the party on the atrocity of the offence, both in a
moral and political point of view, on a sudden there
were six on their feet, at the same time, expatiating
on it; and, in a very short time thereafter, every
one in the room was up, talking with the utmost vociferation,
all on the same subject, and all taking the
same side in the debate.
In the midst of this confusion, some one or other
issued from the house, which was at the back of the
Canongate, calling out, — "A plot, a plot! Treason,
treason! Down with the bloody incendiaries at the
Black Bull!"
The concourse of people that were assembled in
Edinburgh at that time was prodigious; and as they
were all actuated by political motives, they wanted
only a ready-blown coal to set the mountain on fire.
The evening being fine, and the streets thronged,
the cry ran from mouth to mouth through the whole
city. More than that, the mob that had of late been
gathered to the door of the Black Bull, had, by degrees,
dispersed; but, they being young men, and
idle vagrants, they had only spread themselves over
the rest of the street to lounge in search of farther
amusement: consequently, a word was sufficient to
send them back to their late rendezvous, where they
had previously witnessed something they did not
much approve of.
The master of the tavern was astonished at seeing
the mob again assembling; and that with such hurry
and noise. But his inmates being all of the highest
respectability, he judged himself sure of protection,
or, at least, of indemnity. He had two large parties
in his house at the time; the largest of which was
of the Revolutionist faction. The other consisted of
our young tennis-players, and their associates, who
were all of the Jacobite order; or, at all events, leaned
to the Episcopal side. The largest party were in a
front-room; and the attack of the mob fell first on
their windows, though rather with fear and caution.
Jingle went one pane; then a loud hurra; and that
again was followed by a number of voices, endeavouring
to restrain the indignation from venting itself
in destroying the windows, and to turn it on the
inmates. The Whigs, calling the landlord, inquired
what the assault meant: he cunningly answered, that
he suspected it was some of the youths of the Cavalier,
or High-Church party, exciting the mob against
them. The party consisted mostly of young gentlemen,
by that time in a key to engage in any row;
and, at all events, to suffer nothing from the other
party, against whom their passions were mightily inflamed.

The landlord, therefore, had no sooner given them
the spirit-rousing intelligence, than every one, as by
instinct, swore his own natural oath, and grasped his
own natural weapon. A few of those of the highest
rank were armed with swords, which they boldly
drew; those of the subordinate orders immediately
flew to such weapons as the room, kitchen, and scullery
afforded; — such as tongs, pokers, spits, racks,
and shovels; and breathing vengeance on the prelatic
party, the children of Antichrist and the heirs
of d—n—t—n! the barterers of the liberties of their
country, and betrayers of the most sacred trust, —
thus elevated, and thus armed, in the cause of right,
justice, and liberty, our heroes rushed to the street,
and attacked the mob with such violence, that they
broke the mass in a moment, and dispersed their
thousands like chaff before the wind. The other
party of young Jacobites, who sat in a room farther
from the front, and were those against whom the fury
of the mob was meant to have been directed, knew nothing
of this second uproar, till the noise of the sally
made by the Whigs assailed their ears; being then
informed that the mob had attacked the house on account
of the treatment they themselves had given to
a young gentleman of the adverse faction, and that
another jovial party had issued from the house in
their defence, and was now engaged in an unequal
combat, the sparks likewise flew to the field to back
their defenders with all their prowess, without troubling
their heads about who they were.
A mob is like a spring-tide in an eastern storm,
that retires only to return with more overwhelming
fury. The crowd was taken by surprise, when such
a strong and well-armed party issued from the house
with so great fury, laying all prostrate that came
in their way. Those who were next to the door, and
were, of course, the first whom the imminent danger
assailed, rushed backward among the crowd with their
whole force. The Black Bull standing in a small square
half way between the High Street and the Cowgate,
and the entrance to it being by two closes, into these
the pressure outward was simultaneous, and thousands
were moved to an involuntary flight they knew
not why.
But the High Street of Edinburgh, which they
soon reached, is a dangerous place in which to make
an open attack upon a mob. And it appears that the
entrances to the tavern had been somewhere near
to the Cross, on the south side of the street; for
the crowd fled with great expedition, both to the
east and west, and the conquerors, separating themselves
as chance directed, pursued impetuously,
wounding and maiming as they flew. But, it so
chanced, that before either of the wings had followed
the flying squadrons of their enemies for the
space of a hundred yards each way, the devil an
enemy they had to pursue! the multitude had vanished
like so many thousands of phantoms! What
could our heroes do? — Why, they faced about to
return toward their citadel, the Black Bull. But
that feat was not so easily, nor so readily accomplished,
as they divined. The unnumbered alleys
on each side of the street had swallowed up the multitude
in a few seconds; but from these they were
busy reconnoitring; and, perceiving the deficiency
in the number of their assailants, the rush from both
sides of the street was as rapid, and as wonderful,
as the disappearance of the crowd had been a few
minutes before. Each close vomited out its levies,
and these better armed with missiles than when
they sought it for a temporary retreat. Woe then
to our two columns of victorious Whigs! The mob
actually closed around them as they would have
swallowed them up; and, in the meanwhile, shower
after shower of the most abominable weapons of
offence were rained in upon them. If the gentlemen
were irritated before, this inflamed them still
farther; but their danger was now so apparent, they
could not shut their eyes on it, therefore, both parties,
as if actuated by the same spirit, made a desperate
effort to join, and the greater part effected it;
but some were knocked down, and others were separated
from their friends, and blithe to become silent
members of the mob.
The battle now raged immediately in front of the
closes leading to the Black Bull; the small body
of Whig gentlemen was hardly bested, and it is
likely would have been overcome and trampled
down every man, had they not been then and there
joined by the young Cavaliers; who, fresh to arms,
broke from the wynd, opened the head of the passage,
laid about them manfully, and thus kept up
the spirits of the exasperated Whigs, who were the
men in fact that wrought the most deray among the
The town-guard was now on the alert; and two
companies of the Cameronian regiment, with the
Hon. Captain Douglas, rushed down from the Castle
to the scene of action; but, for all the noise and
hubbub that these caused in the street, the combat
had become so close and inveterate, that numbers of
both sides were taken prisoners fighting hand to
hand, and could scarcely be separated when the
guardsmen and soldiers had them by the necks.
Great was the alarm and confusion that night in
Edinburgh; for every one concluded that it was a
party scuffle, and, the two parties being so equal in
power, the most serious consequences were anticipated.
The agitation was so prevailing, that every
party in the town, great and small, was broken up;
and the lord-commissioner thought proper to go
to the council-chamber himself, even at that late
hour, accompanied by the sheriffs of Edinburgh and
Linlithgow, with sundry noblemen besides, in order
to learn something of the origin of the affray.
For a long time the court was completely puzzled.
Every gentleman brought in exclaimed against the
treatment he had received, in most bitter terms,
blaming a mob set on him and his friends by the
adverse party, and matters looked extremely ill, until
at length they began to perceive that they were
examining gentlemen of both parties, and that they
had been doing so from the beginning, almost alternately,
so equally had the prisoners been taken
from both parties. Finally, it turned out, that a
few gentlemen, two-thirds of whom were strenuous
Whigs themselves, had joined in mauling the
whole Whig population of Edinburgh. The investigation
disclosed nothing the effect of which was
not ludicrous; and the Duke of Queensberry, whose
aim was at that time to conciliate the two factions,
tried all that he could to turn the whole fracas
into a joke — an unlucky frolic, where no ill was
meant on either side, and which yet had been productive
of a great deal.
The greater part of the people went home satisfied;
but not so the Rev. Robert Wringhim. He
did all that he could to inflame both judges and
populace against the young Cavaliers, especially
against the young Laird of Dalcastle, whom he represented
as an incendiary, set on by an unnatural
parent to slander his mother, and make away with
a hapless and only brother; and, in truth, that declaimer
against all human merit had that sort of
powerful, homely, and bitter eloquence,which seldom
missed affecting his hearers: the consequence at
that time was, that he made the unfortunate affair
between the two brothers appear in extremely bad
colours, and the populace retired to their homes impressed
with no very favourable opinion of either the
Laird of Dalcastle or his son George, neither of
whom were there present to speak for themselves.
As for Wringhim himself, he went home to his
lodgings, filled with gall and with spite against the
young laird, whom he was made to believe the
aggressor, and that intentionally. But most of all
was he filled with indignation against the father,
whom he held in abhorrence at all times, and blamed
solely for this unmannerly attack made on his
favourite ward, namesake, and adopted son; and
for the public imputation of a crime to his own reverence,
in calling the lad his son, and thus charging
him with a sin against which he was well known
to have levelled all the arrows of church censure
with unsparing might.
But, filled as his heart was with some portion of
these bad feelings, to which all flesh is subject, he
kept, nevertheless, the fear of the Lord always before
his eyes so far as never to omit any of the
external duties of religion, and farther than that,
man hath no power to pry. He lodged with the
family of a Mr. Miller, whose lady was originally
from Glasgow, and had been a hearer, and, of
course, a great admirer of Mr. Wringhim. In
that family he made public worship every evening;
and that night, in his petitions at a throne of grace,
he prayed for so many vials of wrath to be poured
on the head of some particular sinner, that the
hearers trembled, and stopped their ears. But that
he might not proceed with so violent a measure,
amounting to excommunication, without due scripture
warrant, he began the exercise of the evening
by singing the following verses, which it is a pity
should ever have been admitted into a Christian
psalmody, being so adverse to all its mild and benevolent
Set thou the wicked over him,
Few be his days; and in his room
His charge another take;
Young Wringhim only knew the full purport of
this spiritual song; and went to his bed better satisfied
than ever, that his father and brother were
castaways, reprobates, aliens from the church and
the true faith, and cursed in time and eternity.
The next day George and his companions met
as usual, — all who were not seriously wounded
of them. But as they strolled about the city, the
rancorous eye and the finger of scorn was pointed
against them. None of them was at first aware of
the reason; but it threw a damp over their spirits
and enjoyments, which they could not master. They
went to take a forenoon game at their old play of
tennis, not on a match, but by way of improving
themselves; but they had not well taken their
places till young Wringhim appeared in his old station,
at his brother's right hand, with looks more
demure and determined than ever. His lips were
primmed so close that his mouth was hardly discernible,
and his dark deep eye flashed gleams of
holy indignation on the godless set, but particularly
on his brother. His presence acted as a mildew
on all social intercourse or enjoyment; the
game was marred, and ended ere ever it was well
begun. There were whisperings apart — the party
separated; and, in order to shake off the the blighting
influence of this dogged persecutor, they entered
sundry houses of their acquaintances, with an
understanding that they were to meet on the Links
for a game at cricket.
They did so; and, stripping off part of their
clothes, they began that violent and spirited game.
ground! Knock down the scoundrel; or bind him,
and let him lie in peace."
"By no means," cried George: "it is evident
he wants nothing else. Pray do not humour him
so much as to touch him with either foot or finger."
Then turning to a friend, he said in a whisper,
"Speak to him, Gordon; he surely will not refuse
to let us have the ground to ourselves, if you request
it of him."
Gordon went up to him, and requested of him,
civilly, but ardently, "to retire to a certain distance,
else none of them could or would be answerable,
however sore he might be hurt."
He turned disdainfully on his heel, uttered a kind
of pulpit hem! and then added, "I will take my
chance of that; hurt me, any of you, at your peril."
The young gentlemen smiled, through spite and
disdain of the dogged animal. Gordon followed him
up, and tried to remonstrate with him; but he let
him know that "it was his pleasure to be there at
that time; and, unless he could demonstrate to him
what superior right he and his party had to that
ground, in preference to him, and to the exclusion
of all others, he was determined to assert his right,
and the rights of his fellow-citizens, by keeping possession
of whatsoever part of that common field he
"Are you
one, Si?" said the other."You are no gentleman, Sir," said Gordon.
"Are you one, Sir?" said the other.
"Yes, Sir, I will let you know that I am, by
"Then, thanks be to Him whose name you have
profaned, I am none. If one of the party be a
gentleman, I do hope in God I am not!"
singular favour, they wisely restrained one another
from inflicting the punishment that each of them
It was now apparent to them all that he was courting
obloquy and manual chastisement from their
hands, if by any means he could provoke them to
the deed; and, apprehensive that he had some sinister
and deep-laid design in hunting after such a
yearned to bestow, personally, and which he so well
But the unpopularity of the Younger George
Colwan could no longer be concealed from his associates.
It was manifested wherever the populace
were assembled; and his young and intimate friend,
Adam Gordon, was obliged to warn him of the circumstance,
that he might not be surprised at the
gentlemen of their acquaintance withdrawing themselves
from his society, as they could not be seen
with him without being insulted. George thanked
him; and it was agreed between them, that the former
should keep himself retired during the daytime
while he remained in Edinburgh, and that at
night they should always meet together, along with
such of their companions as were disengaged.
George found it every day more and more necessary
to adhere to this system of seclusion; for
it was not alone the hisses of the boys and populace
that pursued him, — a fiend of more malignant aspect
was ever at his elbow, in the form of his brother.
To whatever place of amusement he betook
himself, and however well he concealed his intentions
of going there from all flesh living, there was
his brother Wringhim also, and always within a
few yards of him, generally about the same distance,
and ever and anon darting looks at him that
chilled his very soul. They were looks that cannot
be described; but they were felt piercing to
the bosom's deepest core. They affected even the
on-lookers in a very particular manner, for all
whose eyes caught a glimpse of these hideous
glances followed them to the object toward which
they were darted: the gentlemanly and mild demeanour
of that object generally calmed their startled
apprehensions; for no one ever yet noted the
glances of the young man's eye in the black coat, at
the face of his brother, who did not at first manifest
strong symptoms of alarm.
George became utterly confounded; not only at
the import of this persecution, but how in the
world it came to pass that this unaccountable being
knew all his motions, and every intention of
his heart, as it were intuitively. On consulting his
own previous feelings and resolutions, he found
that the circumstances of his going to such and
such a place were often the most casual incidents in
nature — the caprice of a moment had carried him
there, and yet he had never sat or stood many minutes
till there was the self-same being, always in
the same position with regard to himself, as regularly
as the shadow is cast from the substance, or
the ray of light from the opposing denser medium.

For instance, he remembered one day of setting
out with the intention of going to attend divine
worship in the High Church, and when within a
short space of its door, he was overtaken by young
Kilpatrick of Closeburn, who was bound to the
Grey-Friars to see his sweetheart, as he said; "and
if you will go with me, Colwan," said he, "I will
let you see her too, and then you will be just as
far forward as I am."
George assented at once, and went; and after
taking his seat, he leaned his head forward on the
pew to repeat over to himself a short ejaculatory
prayer, as had always been his custom on entering the
house of God. When he had done, he lifted his
eyes naturally toward that point on his right hand
where the fierce apparition of his brother had been
wont to meet his view: there he was, in the same
habit, form, demeanour, and precise point of distance,
as usual! George again laid down his head,
and his mind was so astounded, that he had nearly
fallen into a swoon. He tried shortly after to muster
up courage to look at the speaker, at the congregation,
and at Captain Kilpatrick's sweetheart
in particular; but the fiendish glances of the young
man in the black clothes were too appalling to be
withstood, — his eye caught them whether he was
looking that way or not: at length his courage was
fairly mastered, and he was obliged to look down
during the remainder of the service.
By night or by day it was the same. In the
gallery of the Parliament House, in the boxes of
the play-house, in the church, in the assembly, in
the streets, suburbs, and the fields; and every day,
and every hour, from the first rencounter of the
two, the attendance became more and more constant,
more inexplicable, and altogether more alarming
and insufferable, until at last George was fairly
driven from society, and forced to spend his days
in his own and his father's lodgings with closed
doors. Even there, he was constantly harassed
with the idea, that the next time he lifted his eyes,
he would to a certainty see that face, the most repulsive
to all his feelings of aught the earth contained.
The attendance of that brother was now
become like the attendance of a demon on some devoted
being that had sold himself to destruction;
his approaches as undiscerned, and his looks as
fraught with hideous malignity. It was seldom that
he saw him either following him in the streets, or
entering any house or church after him; he only appeared
in his place, George wist not how, or whence;
and, having sped so ill in his first friendly approaches,
he had never spoken to his equivocal attendant
a second time.
It came at length into George's head, as he was
pondering, by himself, on the circumstances of this
extraordinary attendance, that perhaps his brother
had relented, and, though of so sullen and unaccommodating
a temper that he would not acknowledge
it, or beg a reconciliation, it might be for that very
purpose that he followed his steps night and day in
that extraordinary manner. "I cannot for my life
see for what other purpose it can be," thought he.
"He never offers to attempt my life; nor dares he,
if he had the inclination; therefore, although his
manner is peculiarly repulsive to me, I shall not
have my mind burdened with the reflection, that my
own mother's son yearned for a reconciliation with
me, and was repulsed by my haughty and insolent
behaviour. The next time he comes to my hand,
I am resolved that I will accost him as one brother
ought to address another, whatever it may cost me;
and, if I am still flouted with disdain, then shall
the blame rest with him."
After this generous resolution, it was a good while
before his gratuitous attendant appeared at his side
again; and George began to think that his visits
were discontinued. The hope was a relief that could
not be calculated; but still George had a feeling
that it was too supreme to last. His enemy had
been too pertinacious to abandon his design, whatever
it was. He, however, began to indulge in a
little more liberty; and for several days he enjoyed
it with impunity.
George was, from infancy, of a stirring active disin
the midst of it the respiration was the most refreshing
and delicious. The grass and the flowers
were loaden with dew; and, on taking off his hat to
wipe his forehead, he perceived that the black glossy
fur of which his chaperon was wrought, was all
covered with a tissue of the most delicate silver —
a fairy web, composed of little spheres, so minute
that no eye could discern any one of them; yet there
they were shining in lovely millions. Afraid of defacing
so beautiful and so delicate a garnish, he replaced
his hat with the greatest caution, and went
on his way light of heart.
As he approached the swire at the head of the
dell, — that little delightful verge from which in
one moment the eastern limits and shores of Lothian
arise on the view, — as he approached it,
I say, and a little space from the height, he beheld,
to his astonishment, a bright halo in the
cloud of haze, that rose in a semi-circle over his
head like a pale rainbow. He was struck motionless
at the view of the lovely vision; for it
so chanced that he had never seen the same appearance
before, though common at early morn. But
he soon perceived the cause of the phenomenon, and
that it proceeded from the rays of the sun from a
pure unclouded morning sky striking upon this
dense vapour which refracted them. But the better
all the works of nature are understood, the more they
will be ever admired. That was a scene that would
have entranced the man of science with delight, but
which the uninitiated and sordid man would have
regarded less than the mole rearing up his hill in
silence and in darkness.
George did admire this halo of glory, which still
grew wider, and less defined, as he approached the
surface of the cloud. But, to his utter amazement
and supreme delight, he found, on reaching the top
of Arthur's Seat, that this sublunary rainbow, this
terrestrial glory, was spread in its most vivid hues
beneath his feet. Still he could not perceive the body
of the sun, although the light behind him was
dazzling; but the cloud of haze lying dense in that
deep dell that separates the hill from the rocks of
Salisbury, and the dull shadow of the hill mingling
with that cloud, made the dell a pit of darkness.
On that shadowy cloud was the lovely rainbow formed,
spreading itself on a horizontal plain, and having
a slight and brilliant shade of all the colours of
the heavenly bow, but all of them paler and less
defined. But this terrestrial phenomenon of the
early morn cannot be better delineated than by the
name given of it by the shepherd boys, "The little
wee ghost of the rainbow."
Such was the description of the morning, and the
wild shades of the hill, that George gave to his father
and Mr. Adam Gordon that same day on which
he had witnessed them; and it is necessary that the
reader should comprehend something of their nature,
to understand what follows.
He seated himself on the pinnacle of the rocky
precipice, a little within the top of the hill to the
westward, and, with a light and buoyant heart, viewed
the beauties of the morning, and inhaled its salubrious
breeze. "Here," thought he, "I can converse
with nature without disturbance, and without
being intruded on by any appalling or obnoxious
visitor." The idea of his brother's dark and malevolent
looks coming at that moment across his mind,
he turned his eyes instinctively to the right, to the
point where that unwelcome guest was wont to make
his appearance. Gracious Heaven! What an apparition
was there presented to his view! He saw, delineated
in the cloud, the shoulders, arms, and features
of a human being of the most dreadful aspect.
The face was the face of his brother, but dilated to
twenty times the natural size. Its dark eyes gleamed
on him through the mist, while every furrow of its
hideous brow frowned deep as the ravines on the
brow of the hill. George started, and his hair stood
up in bristles as he gazed on this horrible monster.
He saw every feature, and every line of the face, distinctly,
as it gazed on him with an intensity that
was hardly brookable. Its eyes were fixed on him,
in the same manner as those of some carnivorous animal
fixed on its prey; and yet there was fear and
trembling, in these unearthly features, as plainly depicted
as murderous malice. The giant apparition
seemed sometimes to be cowering down as in terror,
so that nothing but its brow and eyes were seen;
still these never turned one moment from their object
— again it rose imperceptibly up, and began to
approach with great caution; and as it neared, the
dimensions of its form lessened, still continuing,
however, far above the natural size.
George conceived it to be a spirit. He could conceive
it to be nothing else; and he took it for some
horrid demon by which he was haunted, that had
assumed the features of his brother in every lineament,
but in taking on itself the human form, had
miscalculated dreadfully on the size, and presented
itself thus to him in a blown-up, dilated frame of embodied
air, exhaled from the caverns of death or the
regions of devouring fire. He was farther confirmed
in the belief that it was a malignant spirit, on
perceiving that it approached him across the front
of a precipice, where there was not footing for thing
of mortal frame. Still, what with terror and astonishment,
he continued rivetted to the spot, till it
approached, as he deemed, to within two yards of
him; and then, perceiving that it was setting itself
to make a violent spring on him, he started to his
feet and fled distractedly in the opposite direction,
keeping his eye cast behind him lest he had been
seized in that dangerous place. But the very first
bolt that he made in his flight he came in contact
with a real body of flesh and blood, and that with
such violence that both went down among some
scragged rocks, and George rolled over the other.
The being called out "Murder;" and, rising, fled
precipitately. George then perceived that it was
his brother; and, being confounded between the
shadow and the substance, he knew not what he was
doing or what he had done; and there being only
one natural way of retreat from the brink of the
rock, he likewise arose and pursued the affrighted
culprit with all his speed towards the top of the hill.
Wringhim was braying out "Murder! murder!"
at which George being disgusted, and his spirits all
in a ferment from some hurried idea of intended
harm, the moment he came up with the craven he
seized him rudely by the shoulder, and clapped his
hand on his mouth. "Murder, you beast!" said
he; "what do you mean by roaring out murder in
that way? Who the devil is murdering you, or offering
to murder you?"
Wringhim forced his mouth from under his brother's
hand, and roared with redoubled energy, "Eh! Egh!
murder! murder!" &c. George had felt resolute to
put down this shocking alarm, lest some one might
hear it and fly to the spot, or draw inferences widely
different from the truth; and, perceiving the terror
of this elect youth to be so great that expostulation
was vain, he seized him by the mouth and nose with
his left hand, so strenuously, that he sunk his fingers
into his cheeks. But the poltroon still attempting
to bray out, George gave him such a stunning blow
with his fist on the left temple, that he crumbled, as
it were, to the ground, but more from the effects
of terror than those of the blow. His nose, however,
again gushed out blood, a system of defence
which seemed as natural to him as that resorted to
by the race of stinkards. He then raised himself
on his knees and hams, and raising up his ghastly
face, while the blood streamed over both ears, he besought
his life of his brother, in the most abject
whining manner, gaping and blubbering most piteously.

"Tell me then, Sir," said George, resolved to
make the most of the wretch's terror — "tell me for
what purpose it is that you thus haunt my steps?
Tell me plainly, and instantly, else I will throw you
from the verge of that precipice."
"Oh, I will never do it again! I will never do
it again! Spare my life, dear, good brother! Spare
my life! Sure I never did you any hurt?"
"Swear to me, then, by the God that made you,
that you will never henceforth follow after me to
torment me with your hellish threatening looks;
swear that you will never again come into my presence
without being invited. Will you take an oath
to this effect?"
"O yes! I will, I will!"
"But this is not all: you must tell me for what
purpose you sought me out here this morning?"
"Oh, brother! for nothing but your good. I
had nothing at heart but your unspeakable profit,
and great and endless good."
"I was told so by a friend, but I did not believe

"So then, you indeed knew that I was here?"
"I was told so by a friend, but I did not believe
him; a—a—at least I did not know it was true till
I saw you."
"Tell me this one thing, then, Robert, and all
shall be forgotten and forgiven, — Who was that
"You do not know him."
"How then does he know me?"
"I cannot tell."
"Was he here present with you to-day?"
"Yes; he was not far distant. He came to this
hill with me."
"Where then is he now?"
"I cannot tell."
"Then, wretch, confess that the devil was that
friend who told you I was here, and who came here
with you? None else could possibly know of my being
"Ah! how little you know of him! Would you
argue that there is neither man nor spirit endowed
with so much foresight as to deduce natural conclusions
from previous actions and incidents but the
devil? Alas, brother! But why should I wonder at
such abandoned notions and principles? It was
fore-ordained that you should cherish them, and
that they should be the ruin of your soul and body,
before the world was framed. Be assured of this,
however, that I had no aim in seeking you but your
"Well, Robert, I will believe it. I am disposed
to be hasty and passionate: it is a fault in my
nature; but I never meant, or wished you evil;
and God is my witness that I would as soon stretch
out my hand to my own life, or my father's, as to
yours." — At these words, Wringhim uttered a
hollow exulting laugh, put his hands in his pockets,
and withdrew a space to his accustomed distance.
George continued: "And now, once for all, I request
that we may exchange forgiveness, and that
we may part and remain friends."
"Would such a thing be expedient, think you?
Or consistent with the glory of God? I doubt it."
"I can think of nothing that would be more so.
Is it not consistent with every precept of the Gospel?
Come, brother, say that our reconciliation is
"O yes, certainly! I tell you, brother, according
to the flesh: it is just as complete as the lark's
is with the adder; no more so, nor ever can. Reconciled,
forsooth! To what would I bereconciled?"
As he said this, he strode indignantly away.
From the moment that he heard his life was safe, he
assumed his former insolence and revengeful looks
— and never were they more dreadful than on parting
with his brother that morning on the top of
the hill. "Well, go thy ways," said George;
"some would despise, but I pity thee. If thou
art not a limb of Satan, I never saw one."
The sun had now dispelled the vapours; and the
morning being lovely beyond description, George
sat himself down on the top of the hill, and pondered
deeply on the unaccountable incident that had
befallen to him that morning. He could in nowise
comprehend it; but, taking it with other previous
circumstances, he could not get quit of a conviction
that he was haunted by some evil genius in the
shape of his brother, as well as by that dark and
mysterious wretch himself. In no other way could
he account for the apparition he saw that morning
on the face of the rock, nor for several sudden appearances
of the same being, in places where there
was no possibility of any foreknowledge that he himself
was to be there, and as little that the same being,
if he were flesh and blood like other men, could
always start up in the same position with regard to
him. He determined, therefore, on reaching home,
to relate all that had happened, from beginning to
end, to his father, asking his counsel and his assistance,
although he knew full well that his father
was not the fittest man in the world to solve such a
problem. He was now involved in party politics, over
head and ears; and, moreover, he could never hear
the names of either of the Wringhims mentioned
without getting into a quandary of disgust and anger;
and all that he would deign to say of them was,
to call them by all the opprobrious names he could
It turned out as the young man from the first
suggested: old Dalcastle would listen to nothing
concerning them with any patience. George complained
that his brother harassed him with his presence
at all times, and in all places. Old Dal asked
why he did not kick the dog out of his presence,
whenever he felt him disagreeable? George said, he
seemed to have some demon for a familiar. Dal
answered, that he did not wonder a bit at that, for
the young spark was the third in a direct line who
had all been children of adultery; and it was well
known that all such were born half deils themselves,
and nothing was more likely than that they should
hold intercourse with their fellows. In the same
style did he sympathise with all his son's late sufferings
and perplexities.
In Mr. Adam Gordon, however, George found
a friend who entered into all his feelings, and had
seen and knew every thing about the matter. He
tried to convince him, that at all events there could
be nothing supernatural in the circumstances; and
that the vision he had seen on the rock, among the
thick mist, was the shadow of his brother approaching
behind him. George could not swallow this,
for he had seen his own shadow on the cloud, and,
instead of approaching to aught like his own figure,
he perceived nothing but a halo of glory round a
point of the cloud, that was whiter and purer than
the rest. Gordon said, if he would go with him to
a mountain of his father's, which he named, in
Aberdeenshire, he would show him a giant spirit
of the same dimensions, any morning at the rising
of the sun, provided he shone on that spot. This
statement excited George's curiosity exceedingly;
and, being disgusted with some things about Edinburgh,
and glad to get out of the way, he consented
to go with Gordon to the Highlands for a space.
The clay was accordingly set for their departure,
the old laird's assent obtained; and the two young
sparks parted in a state of great impatience for their
One of them found out another engagement, however,
the instant after this last was determined on.
Young Wringhim went off the hill that morning,
and home to his upright guardian again, without
washing the blood from his face and neck; and there
he told a most woful story indeed: How he had gone
out to take a morning's walk on the hill, where he
had encountered with his reprobate brother among
the mist, who had knocked him down and very near
murdered him; threatening dreadfully, and with
horrid oaths, to throw him from the top of the cliff.
The wrath of the great divine was kindled beyond
measure. He cursed the aggressor in the name of
the Most High; and bound himself, by an oath, to
cause that wicked one's transgressions return upon
his own head sevenfold. But before he engaged farther
in the business of vengeance, he kneeled with
his adopted son, and committed the whole cause
unto the Lord, whom he addressed as one coming
breathing burning coals of juniper, and casting his
lightnings before him, to destroy and root out all
who had moved hand or tongue against the children
of the promise. Thus did he arise confirmed,
and go forth to certain conquest.
fratricide. Then was the old laird in great consternation,
and blamed himself for treating the thing
so lightly, which seemed to have been gone about,
from the beginning, so systematically, and with an
intent which the villains were now going to realize,
namely, to get the young laird disposed of, and then
his brother, in spite of the old gentleman's teeth,
would be laird himself.We cannot enter into the detail of the events that
now occurred, without forestalling a part of the narrative
of one who knew all the circumstances — was
deeply interested in them, and whose relation is of
higher value than any thing that can be retailed
out of the stores of tradition and old registers; but,
his narrative being different from these, it was judged
expedient to give the account as thus publicly
handed down to us. Suffice it, that, before evening,
George was apprehended, and lodged in jail, on
a criminal charge of an assault and battery, to the
shedding of blood, with the intent of committing
Old Dal now set his whole interest to work among
the noblemen and lawyers of his party. His son's
case looked exceedingly ill, owing to the former assault
before witnesses, and the unbecoming expressions
made use of by him on that occasion, as well
as from the present assault, which George did not
deny, and for which no moving cause or motive
could be made to appear.
On his first declaration before the sheriff, matters
looked no better: but then the sheriff was a Whig.
It is well known how differently the people of the
present day, in Scotland, view the cases of their own
party-men, and those of opposite political principles.
But this day is nothing to that in such matters,
although, God knows, they are still sometimes
barefaced enough. It appeared, from all the witnesses
in the first case, that the complainant was
the first aggressor — that he refused to stand out of
the way, though apprised of his danger; and when
his brother came against him inadvertently, he had
aimed a blow at him with his foot, which, if it had
taken effect, would have killed him. But as to the
story of the apparition in fair day-light — the flying
from the face of it — the running foul of his brother
— pursuing him, and knocking him down, why the
judge smiled at the relation; and saying, "It was
a very extraordinary story," he remanded George
to prison, leaving the matter to the High Court of
When the case came before that court, matters
took a different turn. The constant and sullen
attendance of the one brother upon the other excited
suspicions; and these were in some manner,
confirmed, when the guards at Queensberry-house
deponed, that the prisoner went by them on his
way to the hill that morning, about twenty minutes
before the complainant, and when the latter passed,
he asked if such a young man had passed before
him, describing the prisoner's appearance to them;
and that, on being answered in the affirmative, he
mended his pace and fell a-running.
The Lord Justice, on hearing this, asked the
prisoner if he had any suspicions that his brother
had a design on his life.
He answered, that all along, from the time of
their first unfortunate meeting, his brother had
dogged his steps so constantly, and so unaccountably,
that he was convinced it was with some intent
out of the ordinary course of events; and that
if, as his lordship supposed, it was indeed his
shadow that he had seen approaching him through
the mist, then, from the cowering and cautious
manner that it advanced, there was too little doubt
that his brother's design had been to push him
headlong from the cliff that morning.
A conversation then took place between the
Judge and the Lord Advocate; and, in the mean
time, a bustle was seen in the hall; on which the
doors were ordered to be guarded, — and, behold,
the precious Mr. R. Wringhim was taken into
custody, trying to make his escape out of court.
Finally it turned out, that George was honourably
acquitted, and young Wringhim bound over to
keep the peace, with heavy penalties and securities.

That was a day of high exultation to George
and his youthful associates, all of whom abhorred
Wringhim; and the evening being spent in great
glee, it was agreed between Mr. Adam Gordon and
George, that their visit to the Highlands, though
thus long delayed, was not to be abandoned; and
though they had, through the machinations of an
incendiary, lost the season of delight, they would
still find plenty of sport in deer-shooting. Accordingly,
the day was set a second time for their
departure; and, on the day preceding that, all the
party were invited by George to dine with him once
more at the sign of the Black Bull of Norway.
Every one promised to attend, anticipating nothing
but festivity and joy. Alas, what short-sighted
improvident creatures we are, all of us; and how
often does the evening cup of joy lead to sorrow in
the morning!
The day arrived — the party of young noblemen
and gentlemen met, and were as happy and jovial
as men could be. George was never seen so brilliant,
or so full of spirits; and exulting to see so
many gallant young chiefs and gentlemen about
him, who all gloried in the same principles of loyalty,
(perhaps this word should have been written disloyalty,)
he made speeches, gave toasts, and sung
songs, all leaning slily to the same side, until a
very late hour. By that time he had pushed the
bottle so long and so freely, that its fumes had taken
possession of every brain to such a degree, that they
held Dame Reason rather at the staff's end, overbearing
all her counsels and expostulations; and it
was imprudently proposed by a wild inebriated
spark, and carried by a majority of voices, that the
whole party should adjourn to a bagnio for the remainder
of the night.
They did so; and it appears from what follows,
that the house to which they retired, must have
been somewhere on the opposite side of the street to
the Black Bull Inn, a little farther to the eastward.
They had not been an hour in that house, till some
altercation chanced to arise between George Colwan
and a Mr. Drummond, the younger son of a
nobleman of distinction. It was perfectly casual,
and no one thenceforward, to this day, could ever
tell what it was about, if it was not about the misunderstanding
of some word, or term, that the one
had uttered. However it was, some high words
passed between them; these were followed by threats;
and in less than two minutes from the commencement
of the quarrel, Drummond left the house in
apparent displeasure, hinting to the other that they
two should settle that in a more convenient place.
The company looked at one another, for all was
over before any of them knew such a thing was begun.
"What the devil is the matter?" cried one.
"What ails Drummond?" cried another. "Who
has he quarrelled with?" asked a third.
"Don't know." — "Can't tell, on my life." — "He
has quarrelled with his wine, I suppose, and is going
to send it a challenge."
Such were the questions, and such the answers
that passed in the jovial party, and the matter was
But in the course of a very short space, about the
length of which the ideas of the company were the
next day at great variance, a sharp rap came to the
door: It was opened by a female; but there being
a chain inside, she only saw one side of the person
at the door. He appeared to be a young gentleman,
in appearance like him who had lately left the
house, and asked, in a low whispering voice, "if
young Dalcastle was still in the house?" The woman
did not know, — "If he is," added he, "pray
tell him to speak with me for a few minutes." The
woman delivered the message before all the party,
among whom there were then sundry courteous ladies
of notable distinction, and George, on receiving it,
instantly rose from the side of one of them, and
said, in the hearing of them all, "I will bet a hundred
merks that is Drummond." — "Don't go to
quarrel with him, George," said one. — "Bring
him in with you," said another. George stepped
out; the door was again bolted, the chain drawn
across, and the inadvertent party, left within, thought
no more of the circumstance till the next morning,
that the report had spread over the city, that a
young gentleman had been slain, on a little washing-green
at the side of the North Loch, and at the
very bottom of the close where this thoughtless party
had been assembled.
Several of them, on first hearing the report, basted
to the dead-room in the old Guard-house, where
the corpse had been deposited, and soon discovered
the body to be that of their friend and late entertainer,
George Colwan. Great were the consternation
and grief of all concerned, and, in particular,
of his old father and Miss Logan; for George
had always been the sole hope and darling of both,
and the news of the event paralysed them so as to
render them incapable of all thought or exertion.
The spirit of the old laird was broken by the blow,
and he descended at once from a jolly, good-natured,
and active man, to a mere driveller, weeping
over the body of his son, kissing his wound, his
lips, and his cold brow alternately; denouncing
vengeance on his murderers, and lamenting that he
himself had not met the cruel doom, so that the
hope of his race might have been preserved. In
short, finding that all further motive of action and
object of concern or of love, here below, were for
ever removed from him, he abandoned himself to
despair, and threatened to go down to the grave
But although he made no attempt to discover the
murderers, the arm of justice was not idle; and it
being evident to all, that the crime must infallibly
be brought home to young Drummond, some of his
All the young gentlemen of the party were examined,
save Drummond, who, when sent for, could
not be found, which circumstance sorely confirmed
the suspicions against him in the minds of judge
and jurors, friends and enemies; and there is
little doubt, that the care of his relations in concealing
him, injured his character, and his cause.
The young gentlemen, of whom the party was
composed, varied considerably, with respect to
the quarrel between him and the deceased. Some
of them had neither heard nor noted it; others
had, but not one of them could tell how it began.
Some of them had heard the threat uttered
by Drummond on leaving the house, and one
only had noted him lay his hand on his sword.
Not one of them could swear that it was Drummond
who came to the door, and desired to speak
with the deceased, but the general impression on
the minds of them all, was to that effect; and
one of the women swore that she heard the voice
distinctly at the door, and every word that voice
pronounced; and at the same time heard the deceased
say, that it was Drummond's.
On the other hand, there were some evidences
on Drummond's part, which Lord Craigie, his uncle,
had taken care to collect. He produced the
sword which his nephew had worn that night, on
which there was neither blood nor blemish; and
above all, he insisted on the evidence of a number
of surgeons, who declared that both the wounds
which the deceased had received, had been given
behind. One of these was below the left arm, and
a slight one; the other was quite through the body,
and both evidently inflicted with the same weapon
a two-edged sword, of the same dimensions as that
worn by Drummond.
Upon the whole, there was a division in the court
but a majority decided it. Drummond was pronounced
guilty of the murder; outlawed for not
appearing, and a high reward offered for his apprehension.
It was with the greatest difficulty that
he escaped on board of a small trading vessel, which
landed him in Holland, and from thence, flying
into Germany, he entered into the service of the
Emperor Charles VI. Many regretted that he
was not taken, and made to suffer the penalty due
for such a crime, and the melancholy incident became
a pulpit theme over a great part of Scotland
being held up as a proper warning to youth to beAfter
the funeral of this promising and excellent
young man, his father never more held up his
head. Miss Logan, with all her art, could not get
him to attend to any worldly thing, or to make any
settlement whatsoever of his affairs, save making
her over a present of what disposable funds he had
about him. As to his estates, when they were
mentioned to him, he wished them all in the bottom
of the sea, and himself along with them. But
whenever she mentioned the circumstance of Thomas
Drummond having been the murderer of his
son, he shook his head, and once made the remark,
that "It was all a mistake, a gross and
fatal error; but that God, who had permitted such
a flagrant deed, would bring it to light in his own
time and way." In a few weeks he followed his
son to the grave, and the notorious Robert Wringhim
took possession of his estates as the lawful son
of the late laird, born in wedlock, and under his
father's roof. The investiture was celebrated by
prayer, singing of psalms, and religious disputation.
The late guardian and adopted father, and the
mother of the new laird, presided on the grand occasion,
making a conspicuous figure in all the work
of the day; and though the youth himself indulged
rather more freely in the bottle, than he had ever
which thanks, by the by, consisted wholly in telling
that there had never been a festivity so sanctified
within the great hall of Dalcastle. Then, after due
thanks returned, they parted rejoicing in spirit;
But the ways of heaven are altogether inscrutable,
and soar as far above and beyond the works
and the comprehensions of man, as the sun, flaming
in majesty, is above the tiny boy's evening rocket.
It is the controller of Nature alone, that can bring
light out of darkness, and order out of confusion.
Who is he that causeth the mole, from his secret
path of darkness, to throw up the gem, the gold,
ject of his creatures instrumental in bringing the
most hidden truths to light.
Miss Logan had never lost the thought of her
late master's prediction, that Heaven would bring
to light the truth concerning the untimely death
of his son. She perceived that some strange conviction,
too horrible for expression, preyed on his
mind from the moment that the fatal news reached
him, to the last of his existence; and in his last
ravings, he uttered some incoherent words about
justification by faith alone, and absolute and eternal
predestination having been the ruin of his house.
These, to be sure, were the words of superannuation,
and of the last and severest kind of it; but for
all that, they sunk deep into Miss Logan's soul,
and at last she began to think with herself, "Is it
possible the Wringhims, and the sophisticating
wretch who is in conjunction with them, the mother
of my late beautiful and amiable young master,
can have effected his destruction? if so, I will
spend my days, and my little patrimony, in endeavours
to rake up and expose the unnatural deed."
In all her outgoings and incomings, Mrs. Logan
(as she was now styled) never lost sight of this
one object. Every new disappointment only whetted
her desire to fish up some particulars concerning
it; for she thought so long, and so ardently
upon it, that by degrees it became settled in her
mind as a sealed truth. And as woman is always
most jealous of her own sex in such matters, her
suspicions were fixed on her greatest enemy, Mrs.
Colwan, now the Lady Dowager of Dalcastle. All
was wrapt in a chaos of confusion and darkness;
but at last by dint of a thousand sly and secret inquiries,
Mrs. Logan found out where Lady Dalcastle
had been, on the night that the murder happened,
and likewise what company she had kept,
as well as some of the comers and goers; and she
had hopes of having discovered a cue, which, if she
could keep hold of the thread, would lead he
through darkness to the light of truth.
Returning very late one evening from a convocation
of family servants, which she had drawn
together in order to fish something out of them, he
maid having been in attendance on her all the
evening, they found on going home, that the house
had been broken, and a number of valuable article
stolen therefrom. Mrs. Logan had grown quite
heartless before this stroke, having been altogether
to entertain some resolutions of giving up the fruitless
In a few days thereafter, she received intelligence
that her clothes and plate were mostly recovered,
and that she for one was bound over to prosecute
the depredator, provided the articles turned
out to be hers, as libelled in the indictment, and
as a king's evidence had given out. She was likewise
summoned, or requested, I know not which,
being ignorant of these matters, to go as far as the
town of Peebles on Tweedside, in order to survey
these articles on such a day, and make affidavit to
their identity before the Sheriff. She went accordingly;
but on entering the town by the North Gate,
she was accosted by a poor girl in tattered apparel,
who with great earnestness inquired if her name
was not Mrs. Logan? On being answered in the
affirmative, she said that the unfortunate prisoner
in the tolbooth requested her, as she valued all that
was dear to her in life, to go and see her before she
appeared in court, at the hour of cause, as she (the
prisoner) had something of the greatest moment
to impart to her. Mrs. Logan's curiosity was excited,
and she followed the girl straight to the tolbooth,
who by the way said to her, that she would
find in the prisoner a woman of a superior mind,
who had gone through all the vicissitudes of life:
"She has been very unfortunate, and I fear very
wicked," added the poor thing, "but she is my
mother, and God knows, with all her faults and,
failings, she has never been unkind to me. You,
madam, have it in your power to save her; but she
has wronged you, and therefore if you will not do
it for her sake, do it for mine, and the God of the
fatherless will reward you."
Mrs. Logan answered her with a cast of the head,
and a hem! and only remarked, that "the guilty
must not always be suffered to escape, or what
world must we be doomed to live in!"
She was admitted to the prison, and found a tall
emaciated figure, who appeared to have once possessed
a sort of masculine beauty in no ordinary
degree, but was now considerably advanced in years.
She viewed Mrs. Logan with a stern, steady gaze,
as if reading her features as a margin to her intellect;
and when she addressed her it was not with
that humility, and agonized fervor, which are natural
for one in such circumstances to address to
another, who has the power of her life and death
in her hands.
of parting so hideous, that, believe me, it rends to
flinders a soul born for another sphere than that
"I am deeply indebted to you, for this timely
visit, Mrs. Logan," said she. "It is not that I
value life, or because I fear death, that I have sent
for you so expressly. But the manner of the death
that awaits me, has something peculiarly revolting
in it to a female mind. Good God! when I think
of being hung up, a spectacle to a gazing, gaping
multitude, with numbers of which I have had intimacies
and connections, that would render the moment
in which it has moved, had not the vile selfishness
of a lordly fiend ruined all my prospects, and all
my hopes. Hear me then; for I do not ask your
pity: I only ask of you to look to yourself, and
behave with womanly prudence. If you deny this
day, that these goods are yours, there is no other
evidence whatever against my life, and it is safe for
the present. For as for the word of the wretch who
has betrayed me, it is of no avail; he has prevaricated
so notoriously to save himself. If you deny
them, you shall have them all again to the value of
a mite, and more to the bargain. If you swear to
the identity of them, the process will, one way and
another, cost you the half of what they are worth."
"And what security have I for that?" said Mrs.
"You have none but my word," said the other
proudly, "and that never yet was violated. If you
cannot take that, I know the worst you can do —
But I had forgot — I have a poor helpless child
without, waiting, and starving about the prison door
— Surely it was of her that I wished to speak. This
shameful death of mine will leave her in a deplorable
"The girl seems to have candour and strong
affections," said Mrs. Logan; "I grievously mistake
if such a child would not be a thousand times
better without such a guardian and director."
"Then will you be so kind as come to the Grass
Mrs. Logan hesitated, for her mind ran on something
else: On which the other subjoined, "No,
you will not forgive me, I see. But you will pray
to God to forgive me? I know you will do that."
Mrs. Logan heard not this jeer, but looking at
the prisoner with an absent and stupid stare, she
said, "Did you know my late master?"
"Ay, that I did, and never for any good," said
she. "I knew the old and the young spark both,
and was by when the latter was slain."
This careless sentence affected Mrs. Logan in
a most peculiar manner. A shower of tears burst
from her eyes ere it was done, and when it was, she
appeared like one bereaved of her mind. She first
turned one way and then another, as if looking for
something she had dropped. She seemed to think
she had lost her eyes, instead of her tears, and at
length, as by instinct, she tottered close up to the
prisoner's face, and looking wistfully and joyfully
in it, said, with breathless earnestness, "Pray,
mistress, what is your name?"
"My name is Arabella Calvert," said the other:
"Miss, mistress, or widow, as you chuse, for I have
been all the three, and that not once nor twice only
— Ay, and something beyond all these. But as
for you, you have never been any thing!"
"Ay, ay! and so you are Bell Calvert? Well,
I thought so — I thought so," said Mrs. Logan;
and helping herself to a seat, she came and sat down
close by the prisoner's knee. "So you are indeed
Bell Calvert, so called once. Well, of all the world
you are the woman whom I have longed and travailed
the most to see. But you were invisible;
a being to be heard of, not seen."
"There have been days, madam," returned she,
"when I was to be seen, and when there were few
to be seen like me. But since that time there have
indeed been days on which I was not to be seen.
My crimes have been great, but my sufferings have
been greater. So great, that neither you nor the
world can ever either know or conceive them. I
hope they will be taken into account by the Most
High. Mine have been crimes of utter desperation.
But whom am I speaking to? You had better
leave me to myself, mistress."
"Leave you to yourself? That I will be loth to
do, till you tell me where you were that night my
young master was murdered?"
"Where the devil would, I was! Will that
suffice you? Ah, it was a vile action! A night to
be remembered that was! Won't you be going? I
want to trust my daughter with a commission."
"No, Mrs. Calvert, you and I part not, till you
have divulged that mystery to me."
"You must accompany me to the other world,
then, for you shall not have it in this."
"If you refuse to answer me, I can have you
before a tribunal, where you shall be sifted to the
"Such miserable inanity! What care I for your
threatenings of a tribunal? I who must so soon
stand before my last earthly one? What could the
word of such a culprit avail? Or if it could, where
is the judge that could enforce it?"
"Did you not say that there was some mode of
accommodating matters on that score?"
"Yes, I prayed you to grant me my life, which
is in your power. The saving of it would not have
cost you a plack, yet you refused to do it. The
taking of it will cost you a great deal, and yet to
that purpose you adhere. I can have no parley with
such a spirit. I would not have my life in a present
from its motions, nor would I exchange courtesies
with its possessor."
"Indeed, Mrs. Calvert, since ever we met, I have
been so busy thinking about who you might be,
that I know not what you have been proposing. I
believe, I meant to do what I could to save you.
But once for all, tell me every thing that you know
concerning that amiable young gentleman's death,
and here is my hand there shall be nothing wanting
that I can effect for you."
"No, I despise all barter with such mean and
selfish curiosity; and, as I believe that passion is
stronger with you, than fear is with me, we part on
equal terms. Do your worst; and my secret shall
go to the gallows and the grave with me."
Mrs. Logan was now greatly confounded, and
after proffering in vain to concede every thing she,
could ask in exchange, for the particulars relating
to the murder, she became the suppliant in her
turn. But the unaccountable culprit, exulting in
her advantage, laughed her to scorn; and finally,
in a paroxysm of pride and impatience, called in the
jailor and had her expelled, ordering him in her
hearing not to grant her admittance a second time,
on any pretence.
Mrs. Logan was now hard put to it, and again
driven almost to despair. She might have succeeded
in the attainment of that she thirsted for most
in life so easily, had she known the character with
which she had to deal with — Had she known to have
soothed her high and afflicted spirit: but that opportunity
was past, and the hour of examination at
hand. She once thought of going and claiming
her articles, as she at first intended; but then, when
she thought again of the Wringhims swaying it at
Dalcastle, where she had been wont to hear them
held in such contempt, if not abhorrence, and perhaps
of holding it by the most diabolical means, she
was withheld from marring the only chance that remained
of having a glimpse into that mysterious
Finally, she resolved not to answer to her name
in the court, rather than to appear and assert a
falsehood, which she might be called on to certify
by oath. She did so; and heard the Sheriff give
orders to the officers to make inquiry for Miss Logan
from Edinburgh, at the various places of entertainment
in town, and to expedite her arrival in
court, as things of great value were in dependence.
She also heard the man who had turned king's evidence
against the prisoner, examined for the second
time, and sifted most cunningly. His answers
gave any thing but satisfaction to the Sheriff,
though Mrs. Logan believed them to be mainly
truth. But there were a few questions and answers
that struck her above all others.
"How long is it since Mrs. Calvert and you became
"About a year and a half."
"State the precise time, if you please; the day
or night, according to your remembrance."
"It was on the morning of the 28th of February,
"What time of the morning?"
"Perhaps about one."
"So early as that? At what place did you meet then?"
"It was at the foot of one of the north wynds
of Edinburgh."
"No, it
was not.""Was it by appointment that you met?"
"No, it was not."
"For what purpose was it then?"
"For no purpose."
"How is it that you chance to remember the
day and hour so minutely, if you met that woman
whom you have accused, merely by chance, and for
no manner of purpose, as you must have met others
that night, perhaps to the amount of hundreds, in
the same way?"
"I have good cause to remember it, my lord."
"What was that cause?— No answer?— You
don't choose to say what that cause was?"
"I am not at liberty to tell."
The Sheriff then descended to other particulars,
all of which tended to prove that the fellow
was an accomplished villain, and that the principal
share of the atrocities had been committed by
him. Indeed the Sheriff hinted, that he suspected
the only share Mrs. Calvert had in them, was
in being too much in his company, and too true to
him. The case was remitted to the Court of Justiciary;
but Mrs. Logan had heard enough to convince
her that the culprits first met at the very
spot, and the very hour, on which George Colwan
was slain; and she had no doubt that they were
incendiaries set on by his mother, to forward her
own and her darling son's way to opulence. Mrs.
Logan was wrong, as will appear in the sequel; but
her antipathy to Mrs. Colwan made her watch the
event with all care. She never quitted Peebles as
long as Bell Calvert remained there, and when she
was removed to Edinburgh, the other followed.
When the trial came on, Mrs. Logan and her maid
were again summoned as witnesses before the jury,
and compelled by the prosecutor for the Crown to
The maid was first called; and when she came
into the witnesses' box, the anxious and hopeless
looks of the prisoner were manifest to all: But the
girl, whose name, she said, was Bessy Gillies, an"Was
I at hame; say ye? Na, faith-ye, lad! An
"Where were you that morning?"
"Where was I, say you? I was in the house
where my mistress was, sitting dozing an' half
sleeping in the kitchen. I thought aye she would
be setting out every minute, for twa hours."
"And when you went home, what did you
"What found we? Be my sooth, we found a
broken lock, an' toom kists."
"Relate some of the particulars, if you please."
"O, sir, the thieves didna stand upon particulars:
they were halesale dealers in a' our best
"I mean, what passed between your mistress and
you on the occasion?"
"What passed, say ye? O, there wasna muckle:
I was in a great passion, but she was dung doitrified
a wee. When she gaed to put the key i' the
door, up it flew to the fer wa'. — 'Bess, ye jaud,
what's the meaning o' this?' quo she. 'Ye hae left
the door open, ye tawpie!' quo she. 'The ne'er
o' that I did,' quo I, 'or may my shakel bane
never turn another key.' When we got the candle
lightit, a' the house was in a hoad-road. 'Bessy,
my woman,' quo she, 'we are baith ruined and undone
creatures.' 'The deil a bit,' quo I; 'that I
deny positively. H'mh! to speak o' a lass o' my age
being ruined and undone! I never had muckle except
what was within a good jerkin, an' let the
thief ruin me there wha can."
"Do you remember ought else that your mistress
said on the occasion? Did you hear her blame
any person?"
"O, she made a great deal o' grumphing an'
groaning about the misfortune, as she ca'd it, an'
I think she said it was a part o' the ruin wrought
by the Ringans, or some sic name, — 'they'll hae't
a'! they'll hae't a'!' cried she, wringing her hands;
'they'll hae't a', an' hell wi't, an' they'll get them
baith.' 'Aweel, that's aye some satisfaction,'
quo I."
"Whom did she mean by the Ringans, do you
"I fancy they are some creatures that she has
dreamed about, for I think there canna be as ill
folks living as she ca's them."
"Did you never hear her say that the prisoner
at the bar there, Mrs. Calvert, or Bell Calvert, was
the robber of her house; or that she was one of
the Ringans?"
"Never. Somebody tauld her lately, that ane
Bell Calvert robbed her house, but she disna believe
it. Neither do I."
"What reasons have you for doubting it?"
"Because it was nae woman's fingers that broke
up the bolts an' the locks that were torn open that
"Very pertinent, Bessy. Come then within the
bar, and look at these articles on the table. Did
you ever see these silver spoons before?"
"I hae seen some very like them, and whaever
has seen siller spoons, has done the same."
"Can you swear you never saw them before?"
"Na, na, I wadna swear to ony siller spoons
that ever war made, unless I had put a private
mark on them wi' my ain hand, an' that's what I
never did to ane."
"See, they are all marked with a C."
"Sae are a' the spoons in Argyle, an' the half
o' them in Edinburgh I think. A C is a very common
letter, an' so are a' the names that begin wi't.
Lay them by, lay them by, an' gie the poor woman
her spoons again. They are marked wi' her
ain name, an' I hae little doubt they are hers, an'
that she has seen better days."
"Ah, God bless her heart!" sighed the prisoner;
and that blessing was echoed in the breathings of
many a feeling breast.
"Did you ever see this gown before, think
"I hae seen ane very like it."
"Could you not swear that gown was your mistress's
"No, unless I saw her hae't on, an' kend that
she had paid for't. I am very scrupulous about an
oath. Like is an ill mark. Sae ill indeed, that I
wad hardly swear to ony thing."
"But you say that gown is very like one your
mistress used to wear.
"I never said sic a thing. It is like one I hae
seen her hae out airing on the hay raip i' the back
green. It is very like ane I hae seen Mrs. Butler
in the Grass Market wearing too; I rather think
it is the same. Bless you, sir, I wadna swear to
my ain fore finger, if it had been as lang out o' my
sight, an' brought in an' laid on that table."
"Perhaps you are not aware, girl, that this scrupulousness
of yours is likely to thwart the purposes
of justice, and bereave your mistress of property to
the amount of a thousand merks?" (From the
"I canna help that, my lord: that's her lookout.
For my part, I am resolved to keep a clear
conscience, till I be married, at any rate."
"Look over these things and see if there is any
one article among them which you can fix on as
the property of your mistress."
"No ane o' them, sir, no ane o' them. An
oath is an awfu' thing, especially when it is for life
or death. Gie the poor woman her things again,
an' let my mistress pick up the next she finds:
that's my advice."
When Mrs. Logan came into the box, the
prisoner groaned, and laid down her head. But
how she was astonished when she heard her deliver
herself something to the following purport! — That
whatever penalties she was doomed to abide, she
was determined she would not bear witness against
a woman's life, from a certain conviction that it
could not be a woman who broke her house. "I
have no doubt that I may find some of my own
things there," added she, "but if they were found
in her possession, she has been made a tool, or the
dupe, of an infernal set, who shall be nameless here.
I believe she did not rob me, and for that reason
I will have no hand in her condemnation."
The Judge. "This is the most singular perversion
I have ever witnessed. Mrs. Logan, I
entertain strong suspicions that the prisoner, or her
agents, have made some agreement with you on
this matter, to prevent the course of justice."
"So far from that, my lord, I went into the
jail at Peebles to this woman, whom I had never
seen before, and proffered to withdraw my part in
the prosecution, as well as my evidence, provided
she would tell me a few simple facts; but she
spurned at my offer, and had me turned insolently
out of the prison, with orders to the jailor never to
admit me again on any pretence."
The prisoner's counsel, taking hold of this evidence,
addressed the jury with great fluency; and
finally, the prosecution was withdrawn, and the
prisoner dismissed from the bar, with a severe reprimand
for her past conduct, and an exhortation
to keep better company.
It was not many days till a caddy came with a
large parcel to Mrs. Logan's house, which parcel
he delivered into her hands, accompanied with a
sealed note, containing an inventory of the articles,
and a request to know if the unfortunate Arabella
Calvert would be admitted to converse with Mrs.
Never was there a woman so much overjoyed
as Mrs. Logan was at this message. She returned
compliments: Would be most happy to see
her; and no article of the parcel should be looked
at, or touched, till her arrival. — It was not long till
she made her appearance, dressed in somewhat
better style than she had yet seen her; delivered
her over the greater part of the stolen property,
besides many things that either never had belonged
to Mrs. Logan, or that she thought proper to
deny, in order that the other might retain them.
The tale that she told of her misfortunes was of
the most distressing nature, and was enough to stir
up all the tender, as well as abhorrent feelings in
the bosom of humanity. She had suffered every
deprivation in fame, fortune, and person. She
had been imprisoned; she had been scourged, and
branded as an impostor; and all on account of her
resolute and unmoving fidelity and truth to several
of the very worst of men, every one of whom
had abandoned her to utter destitution and shame.
But this story we cannot enter on at present, as it
would perhaps mar the thread of our story, as much
as it did the anxious anticipations of Mrs. Logan,
who sat pining and longing for the relation that
"Now I know, Mrs. Logan, that you are expecting
a detail of the circumstances relating to the
death of Mr George Colwan; and in gratitude for
your unbounded generosity, and disinterestedness,
I will tell you all that I know, although, for causes
that will appear obvious to you, I had determined
never in life to divulge one circumstance of it. I
can tell you, however, that you will be disappoint.
ed, for it was not the gentleman who was accused,
found guilty, and would have suffered the utmost
penalty of the law, had he not made his escape.
It was not he, I say, who slew your young master,
nor had he any hand in it."
"I never thought he had. But, pray, how do
you come to know this?"
"You shall hear. I had been abandoned in
York, by an artful and consummate fiend; found
guilty of being art and part concerned in the most
heinous atrocities, and, in his place, suffered what
I yet shudder to think of. I was banished the
county — begged my way with my poor outcast
child up to Edinburgh, and was there obliged, for
the second time in my life, to betake myself to the
most degrading of all means to support two wretched
lives. I hired a dress, and betook me, shivering,
to the High Street, too well aware that my form
and appearance would soon draw me suitors enow
at that throng and intemperate time of the parliament.
On my very first stepping out to the street,
a party of young gentlemen was passing. I heard
by the noise they made, and the tenor of their
speech, that they were more than mellow, and so I
resolved to keep near them, in order, if possible, to
make some of them my prey. But just as one of
them began to eye me, I was rudely thrust into a
narrow close by one of the guardsmen. I had heard
to what house the party was bound, for the men were
talking exceedingly loud, and making no secret of
it: so I hasted down the close, and round below to
the one where their rendezvous was to be; but I was
too late, they were all housed and the door bolted.
I resolved to wait, thinking they could not all stay
long; but I was perishing with famine, and was like
to fall down. The moon shone as bright as day,
and I perceived, by a sign at the bottom of the close,
that there was a small tavern of a certain description
up two stairs there. I went up and called,
telling the mistress of the house my plan. She approved
of it mainly, and offered me her best apartment,
provided I could get one of these noble mates
to accompany me. She abused Lucky Sudds, as
she called her, at the inn where the party was, envying
her huge profits, no doubt, and giving me afterward
something to drink, for which I really felt
exceedingly grateful in my need. I stepped down
stairs in order to be on the alert. The moment that
I reached the ground, the door of Lucky Sudds'
house opened and shut, and down came the Honourable
Thomas Drummond, with hasty and impassioned
strides, his sword rattling at his heel. I
accosted him in a soft and soothing tone. He was
taken with my address; for he instantly stood still
and gazed intently at me, then at the place, and then
at me again. I beckoned him to follow me, which
he did without farther ceremony, and we soon found
ourselves together in the best room of a house where
every thing was wretched. He still looked about
him, and at me; but all this while he had never
spoken a word. At length, I asked if he would take
any refreshment? 'If you please,' said he. I
asked what he would have? but he only answered,
'Whatever you choose, madam.' If he was taken
with my address, I was much more taken with his;
for he was a complete gentleman, and a gentleman
will ever act as one. At length, he began as follows:

"I am utterly at a loss to account for this adventure,
madam. It seems to me like enchantment,
and I can hardly believe my senses. An English
lady, I judge, and one, who from her manner and
address should belong to the first class of society, in
such a place as this, is indeed matter of wonder to
me. At the foot of a close in Edinburgh! and at
this time of the night! Surely it must have been no
common reverse of fortune that reduced you to
this?' I wept, or pretended to do so; on which he
added. 'Pray, madam, take heart. Tell me what
has befallen you; and if I can do any thing for
you, in restoring you to your country or your friends,
you shall command my interest.'
"I had great need of a friend then, and I thought
now was the time to secure one. So I began and
told him the moving tale I have told you. But I
soon perceived that I had kept by the naked truth
too unvarnishedly, and thereby quite overshot my
mark. When he learned that he was sitting in a
wretched corner of an irregular house, with a felon,
who had so lately been scourged, and banished as a
swindler and impostor, his modest nature took the
alarm, and he was shocked, instead of being moved
with pity. His eye fixed on some of the casual
stripes on my arm, and from that moment he became
restless and impatient to be gone. I tried
some gentle arts to retain him, but in vain; so, after
paying both the landlady and me for pleasures
he had neither tasted nor asked, he took his leave.
I showed him down stairs; and just as he turned
the corner of the next land, a man came rushing
violently by him; exchanged looks with him, and
came running up to me. He appeared in great agitation,
and was quite out of breath; and, taking my
hand in his, we ran up stairs together without speak.
ing, and were instantly in the apartment I had left,
where a stoup of wine still stood untasted. 'Ah,
this is fortunate!' said my new spark, and helped
himself. In the mean while, as our apartment was
a corner one, and looked both east and north, I ran
to the easter casement to look after Drummond.
Now, note me well: I saw him going eastward in
his tartans and bonnet, and the gilded hilt of
claymore glittering in the moon; and, at the very
same time, I saw two men, the one in black, and
the other likewise in tartans, coming toward the
steps from the opposite bank, by the foot of the
loch; and I saw Drummond and they eying each
other as they passed. I kept view of him till he
vanished towards Leith Wynd, and by that time
the two strangers had come close up under our window.
This is what I wish you to pay particular
attention to. I had only lost sight of Drummond,
(who had given me his name and address,) for the
short space of time that we took in running up one
pair of short stairs; and during that space he had
halted a moment, for, when I got my eye on him
again, he had not crossed the mouth of the next entry,
nor proceeded above ten or twelve paces, and,
at the same time, I saw the two men coming down
the bank on the opposite side of the loch, at about
three hundred paces distance. Both he and they
were distinctly in my view, and never within speech
of each other, until he vanished into one of the
wynds leading toward the bottom of the High
Street, at which precise time the two strangers came
below my window; so that it was quite clear he
neither could be one of them, nor have any communication
with them.
"Yet, mark me again; for of all things I have
ever seen, this was the most singular. When I
looked down at the two strangers, one of them was
extremely like Drummond. So like was he, that
there was not one item in dress, form, feature, nor
voice, by which I could distinguish the one from
the other. I was certain it was not he, because I
had seen the one going and the other approaching
at the same time, and my impression at the moment
was, that I looked upon some spirit, or demon, in
his likeness. I felt a chillness creep all round my
heart, my knees tottered, and, withdrawing my
head from the open casement that lay in the dark
shade, I said to the man who was with me, 'Good
God, what is this!'
"'What is it, my dear?' said he, as much alarmed
as I was.
"'As I live, there stands an apparition!' said I.
"He was not so much afraid when he heard me
say so, and peeping cautiously out, be looked and listened
a-while, and then drawing back, he said in a
whisper, 'They are both living men, and one of
them is he I passed at the corner.'
"'That he is not,' said I, emphatically. 'To
that I will make oath.'
"He smiled and shook his head, and then added,
'I never then saw a man before, whom I could not
know again, particularly if he was the very last I
had seen. But what matters it whether it be or
not? As it is no concern of ours, let us sit down
and enjoy ourselves.'
"'But it does matter a very great deal with me,
sir,' said I. — 'Bless me, my head is giddy — my
breath quite gone, and I feel as if I were surrounded
with fiends. Who are you, sir?'
"'You shall know that ere we two part, my
love,' said he: 'I cannot conceive why the return
of this young gentleman to the spot he so lately
left, should discompose you? I suppose he got a
glance of you as he passed, and has returned to look
after you, and that is the whole secret of the matter.'
"'If you will be so civil as to walk out and join
him then, it will oblige me hugely,' said I, 'for I
never in my life experienced such boding apprehensions
of evil company. I cannot conceive how you
should come up here without asking my permission?
Will it please you to begone, sir?' — I was within
an ace of prevailing. He took out his purse — I
need not say more — I was bribed to let him remain.
Ah, had I kept by my frail resolution of dismissing
him at that moment, what a world of shame and
misery had been evited! But that, though uppermost
still in my mind, has nothing ado here.
"When I peeped over again, the two men were
disputing in a whisper, the one of them in violent
agitation and terror, and the other upbraiding him,
and urging him on to some desperate act. At length
I heard the young man in the Highland garb say
indignantly, 'Hush, recreant! It is God's work
which you are commissioned to execute, and it must
be done. But if you positively decline it, I will do
it myself, and do you beware of the consequences.'
"'Oh, I will, I will!' cried the other in black
clothes, in a wretched beseeching tone. 'You
shall instruct me in this, as in all things else.'
"I thought all this while I was closely concealed
from them, and wondered not a little when he in tartans
gave me a sly nod, as much as to say, 'What
do you think of this?' or, 'Take note of what
you see,' or something to that effect, from which
I perceived, that whatever he was about, he did;
not wish it to be kept a secret. For all that, I was
impressed with a terror and anxiety that I could not
overcome, but it only made me mark every event
with the more intense curiosity. The Highlander,
whom I still could not help regarding as the evil
genius of Thomas Drummond, performed every action,
as with the quickness of thought. He concealed
the youth in black in a narrow entry, a little
to the westward of my windows, and as he was leading
him across the moonlight green by the shoulder,
I perceived, for the first time, that both of them
were armed with rapiers. He pushed him without
resistance into the dark shaded close, made another
signal to me, and hasted up the close to Lucky
Sudds' door. The city and the morning were so
still, that I heard every word that was uttered, on
putting my head out a little. He knocked at the
door sharply, and after waiting a considerable space,
the bolt was drawn, and the door, as I conceived,
edged up as far as the massy chain would let it.
'Is young Dalcastle still in the house?' said he
"I did not hear the answer, but I heard him say,
shortly after, 'If he is, pray tell him to speak
with me for a few minutes.' He then withdrew
from the door, and came slowly down the close, in a
lingering manner, looking oft behind him. Dalcastle
came out; advanced a few steps after him,
and then stood still, as if hesitating whether or not
he should call out a friend to accompany him; and
that instant the door behind him was closed, chained,
and the iron bolt drawn; on hearing of which,
he followed his adversary without farther hesitation.
As he passed below my window, I heard him say,
I beseech you, Tom, let us do nothing in this
matter rashly;' but I could not hear the answer of
the other, who had turned the corner.
"I roused up my drowsy companion, who was
leaning on the bed, and we both looked together from
the north window. We were in the shade, but the
moon shone full on the two young gentlemen.
Young Dalcastle was visibly the worse of liquor,
and his back being turned toward us, he said something
to the other which I could not make out, although
he spoke a considerable time, and, from
his tones and gestures, appeared to be reasoning.
When he had done, the tall young man in the tartans
drew his sword, and his face being straight to
us, we heard him say distinctly, 'No more words
about it, George, if you please; but if you be a man,
as I take you to be, draw your sword, and let us
settle it here.'
"Dalcastle drew his sword, without changing his
attitude; but he spoke with more warmth, for we
heard his words, 'Think you that I fear you,
Tom? Be assured, sir, I would not fear ten of the
best of your name, at each other's backs: all that I
want is to have friends with us to see fair play, for
if you close with me, you are a dead man.'
The other stormed at these words. 'You are
a braggart, sir,' cried he, 'a wretch — a blot on
the cheek of nature — a blight on the Christian
world — a reprobate — I'll have your soul, sir — You
must play at tennis, and put down elect brethren
in another world to-morrow.' As he said this, he
brandished his rapier, exciting Dalcastle to offence.
He gained his point: The latter, who had previously
drawn, advanced in upon his vapouring and licentious
antagonist, and a fierce combat ensued.
My companion was delighted beyond measure, and
I could not keep him from exclaiming, loud enough
to have been heard, 'that's grand! that's excellent!'
For me, my heart quaked like an aspen. Young
Dalcastle either had a decided advantage over his
adversary, or else the other thought proper to let
him have it; for he shifted, and wore, and flitted
from Dalcastle's thrusts like a shadow, uttering
ofttimes a sarcastic laugh, that seemed to provoke
the other beyond all bearing. At one time, he
would spring away to a great distance, then advance
again on young Dalcastle with the swiftness of
lightning. But that young hero always stood his
ground, and repelled the attack: he never gave
way, although they fought nearly twice round the
bleaching green, which you know is not a very
small one. At length they fought close up to the
mouth of the dark entry, where the fellow in black
stood all this while concealed, and then the combatant
in tartans closed with his antagonist, or pretended
to do so; but the moment they began to
grapple, he wheeled about, turning Colwan's back
towards the entry, and then cried out, 'Ah, hell
has it! My friend, my friend!'
"That moment the fellow in black rushed from
his cover with his drawn rapier, and gave the brave
young Dalcastle two deadly wounds in the back, as
quick as arm could thrust, both of which I thought
pierced through his body. He fell, and rolling himself
on his back, he perceived who it was that had
slain him thus foully, and said, with a dying emphasis,
which I never heard equalled, 'Oh, dog of hell,
is it you who has done this!'
"He articulated some more, which I could not
hear for other sounds; for the moment that the
man in black inflicted the deadly wound, my companion
called out, That's unfair, you rip! That's
damnable! to strike a brave fellow behind! One at
a time, you cowards! &c.' to all which the unnatural
fiend in the tartans answered with a loud exulting
laugh; and then, taking the poor paralysed
murderer by the bow of the arm, he hurried him into
the dark entry once more, where I lost sight of
them for ever."
Before this time, Mrs. Logan had risen up; and
when the narrator had finished, she was standing
with her arms stretched upward at their full length,
and her visage turned down, on which were pourtrayed
the lines of the most absolute horror. "The
dark suspicions of my late benefactor have been just,
and his last prediction is fulfilled," cried she. "The
murderer of the accomplished George Colwan has
been his own brother, set on, there is little doubt, by
her who bare them both, and her directing angel,
the self-justified bigot. Aye, and yonder they sit,
enjoying the luxuries so dearly purchased, with perfect
impunity! If the Almighty do not hurl them
down, blasted with shame and confusion, there is
no hope of retribution in this life. And, by his
might, I will be the agent to accomplish it! Why
did the man not pursue the foul murderers? Why
did he not raise the alarm, and call the watch?"
"He? The wretch! He durst not move from the
shelter he had obtained, — no, not for the soul of
him. He was pursued for his life, at the moment
when he first flew into my arms. But I did not
know it; no, I did not then know him. May the
curse of heaven, and the blight of hell, settle on
the detestable wretch! He pursue for the sake
of justice! No; his efforts have all been for evil,
but never for good. But I raised the alarm; miserable
and degraded as I was, I pursued and raised
the watch myself. Have you not heard the name
of Bell Calvert coupled with that hideous and
mysterious affair?"
"Yes, I have. In secret often I have heard
it. But how came it that you could never be
found? How came it that you never appeared
in defence of the Honourable Thomas Drummond;
you, the only person who could have justified him?"
"I could not, for I then fell under the power
and guidance of a wretch, who durst not for the
soul of him be brought forward in the affair. And
what was worse, his evidence would have overborne
mine, for he would have sworn, that the man who
called out and fought Colwan, was the same he
met leaving my apartment, and there was an end
of it. And moreover, it is well known, that this
same man, — this wretch of whom I speak, never
mistook one man for another in his life, which makes
the mystery of the likeness between this incendiary
and Drummond the more extraordinary."
"If it was Drummond, after all that you have
asserted, then are my surmises still wrong."
"There is nothing of which I can be more certain,
than that it was not Drummond. We have
nothing on earth but our senses to depend upon:
if these deceive us, what are we to do. I own I
cannot account for it; nor ever shall be able to account
for it as long as I live."
"Could you know the man in black, if you saw
him again?"
"I think I could, if I saw him walk or run: his
gait was very particular: He walked as if he had
been flat-soled, and his legs made of steel, without
any joints in his feet or ancles."
"The very same! The very same! The very
same! Pray will you take a few days' journey into
the country with me, to look at such a man?"
"You have preserved my life, and for you I
will do any thing. I will accompany you with
pleasure: and I think I can say that I will know
him, for his form left an impression on my heart
not soon to be effaced. But of this I am sure, that
my unworthy companion will recognize him, and
that he will be able to swear to his identity every
day as long as he lives."
"Where is he? Where is he? O! Mrs. Calvert,
where is he?"
"Where is he? He is the wretch whom you
heard giving me up to the death; who, after experiencing
every mark of affection that a poor
ruined being could confer, and after committing a
thousand atrocities of which she was ignorant,
became an informer to save his diabolical life, and
attempted to offer up mine as a sacrifice for all.
We will go by ourselves first, and I will tell you
if it is necessary to send any farther."
The two dames, the very next morning, dressed
themselves like country goodwives; and, hiring
two stout ponies furnished with pillions, they took
their journey westward, and the second evening
after leaving Edinburgh they arrived at the village
about two miles below Dalcastle, where they alighted.
But Mrs. Logan, being anxious to have Mrs.
Calvert's judgment, without either hint or preparation,
took care not to mention that they were so
neat to the end of their journey. In conformity
with this plan, she said, after they had sat a while,
"Heigh-ho, but I am weary! What suppose we
should rest a day here before we proceed farther
on our journey?"
Mrs. Calvert was leaning on the casement, and
looking out when her companion addressed these
words to her, and by far too much engaged to return
any answer, for her eyes were riveted on two
young men who approached from the farther end
of the village; and at length, turning round her
head, she said, with the most intense interest, "Proceed
farther on our journey, did you say? That
we need not do; for, as I live, here comes the very
Mrs. Logan ran to the window, and behold, there
was indeed Robert Wringhim Colwan (now the
Laird of Dalcastle) coming forward almost below
their window, walking arm in arm with another
young man; and as the two passed, the latter
looked up and made a sly signal to the two dames,
biting his lip, winking with his left eye, and nodding
his head. Mrs. Calvert was astonished at
this recognizance, the young man's former companion
having made exactly such another signal on
the night of the duel, by the light of the moon;
and it struck her, moreover, that she had somewhere
seen this young man's face before. She
looked after him, and he winked over his shoulder
to her; but she was prevented from returning his
salute by her companion, who uttered a loud cry,
between a groan and shriek, and fell down on the
floor with a rumble like a wall that had suddenly
been undermined. She had fainted quite away, and
required all her companion's attention during the
remainder of the evening, for she had scarcely ever
well recovered out of one fit before she fell into
another, and in the short intervals she raved like
one distracted, or in a dream. After falling into
a sound sleep by night, she recovered her equanimity,
and the two began to converse seriously on
what they had seen. Mrs. Calvert averred that
the young man who passed next to the window, was
the very man who stabbed George Colwan in the
back, and she said she was willing to take her oath
on it at any time when required, and was certain if
the wretch Ridsley saw him, that he would make
oath to the same purport, for that his walk was so
peculiar, no one of common discernment could mistake
Mrs. Logan was in great agitation, and said, "It
is what I have suspected all along, and what I am
sure my late master and benefactor was persuaded
of, and the horror of such an idea cut short his
days. That wretch, Mrs. Calvert, is the born brother
of him he murdered, sons of the same mother
they were, whether or not of the same father, the
Lord only knows. But, O Mrs. Calvert, that is
not the main thing that has discomposed me, and
shaken my nerves to pieces at this time. Who do
you think the young man was who walked in his
company to night?"
"I cannot for my life recollect, but am convinced
I have seen the same fine form and face before."

"And did not he seem to know us, Mrs. Calvert?
You who are able to recollect things as they
happened, did he not seem to recollect us, and
make signs to that effect?"
"He did, indeed, and apparently with great
good humour."
"O, Mrs. Calvert, hold me, else I shall fall into
hysterics again! Who is he? Who is he? Tell
me who you suppose he is, for I cannot say my
own thought."
"On my life, I cannot remember."
"Did you note the appearance of the young
gentleman you saw slain that night? Do you recollect
aught of the appearance of my young master,
George Colwan?"
Mrs. Calvert sat silent, and stared the other
mildly in the face. Their looks encountered, and
there was an unearthly amazement that gleamed;
from each, which, meeting together, caught real
fire, and returned the flame to their heated imaginations,
till the two associates became like two statues,
with their hands spread, their eyes fixed, and
their chops fallen down upon their bosoms. An
old woman who kept the lodging-house, having
been called in before when Mrs. Logan was faintish,
chanced to enter at this crisis with some cordial;
and, seeing the state of her lodgers, she,
caught the infection, and fell into the same rigid
and statue-like appearance. No scene more striking
was ever exhibited; and if Mrs. Calvert had
not resumed strength of mind to speak, and break
the spell, it is impossible to say how long it might
have continued. "It is he, I believe," said she,
uttering the words as it were inwardly. "It can
be none other but he. But, no, it is impossible!
I saw him stabbed through and through the heart;
I saw him roll backward on the green in his own
blood, utter his last words, and groan away his
soul. Yet, if it is not he, who can it be?"
"It is he!" cried Mrs. Logan, hysterically.
"Yes, yes, it is he!" cried the landlady, in
"It is who?" said Mrs. Calvert; "whom do
you mean, mistress?"
"Oh, I don't know! I don't know! I was affrighted."

"Hold your peace then till you recover your
senses, and tell me, if you can, who that young gentleman
is, who keeps company with the new Laird
of Dalcastle?"
"Oh, it is he! it is he!" screamed Mrs. Logan,
wringing her hands.
"Oh, it is he! it is he!" cried the landlady,
wringing hers.
Mrs. Calvert turned the latter gently and civilly
out of the apartment, observing that there seemed
to be some infection in the air of the room, and
she would be wise for herself to keep out of it.
The two dames had a restless and hideous
night. Sleep came not to their relief; for their
conversation was wholly about the dead, who seemed
to be alive, and their minds were wandering and
groping in a chaos of mystery. "Did you attend
to his corpse, and know that he positively died and
was buried?" said Mrs. Calvert.
"O, yes, from the moment that his fair but
mangled corpse was brought home, I attended it till
that when it was screwed in the coffin. I washed
the long stripes of blood from his lifeless form, on
both sides of the body — I bathed the livid wound
that passed through his generous and gentle heart.
There was one through the flesh of his left side
too, which had bled most outwardly of them all.
I bathed them, and bandaged them up with wax
and perfumed ointment, but still the blood oozed
through all, so that when he was laid in the coffin
he was like one newly murdered. My brave, my
generous young master! he was always as a son to
me, and no son was ever more kind or more respectful
to a mother. But he was butchered — he
was cut off from the earth ere he had well reached
to manhood — most barbarously and unfairly slain.
And how is it, how can it be, that we again
see him here, walking arm in arm with his murderer?"

"The thing cannot be, Mrs. Logan. It is a
phantasy of our disturbed imaginations, therefore
let us compose ourselves till we investigate this
matter farther."
"It cannot be in nature, that is quite clear,"
said Mrs. Logan; "yet how it should be that I
should think so — I who knew and nursed him from
his infancy — there lies the paradox. As you said
once before, we have nothing but our senses to depend
on, and if you and I believe that we see a
person, why, we do see him. Whose word, or
whose reasoning can convince us against our own
senses? We will disguise ourselves, as poor women
selling a few country wares, and we will go up to
the Hall, and see what is to see, and hear what we
can hear, for this is a weighty business in which
we are engaged, namely, to turn the vengeance of
the law upon an unnatural monster; and we will
farther learn, if we can, who this is that accompanies
Mrs. Calvert acquiesced, and the two dames took
their way to Dalcastle, with baskets well furnished
with trifles. They did not take the common path
from the village, but went about, and approached
the mansion by a different way. But it seemed as if
some overruling power ordered it, that they should
miss no chance of attaining the information they
wanted. For ere ever they came within half a mile
of Dalcastle, they perceived the two youths coming,
as to meet them, on the same path. The road leading
from Dalcastle toward the north-east, as all the
country knows, goes along a dark bank of brush--
wood called the Bogle-heuch. It was by this track
that the two women were going; and when they
perceived the two gentlemen meeting them, they
turned back, and the moment they were out of
their sight, they concealed themselves in a thicket
close by the road. They did this because Mrs.
Logan was terrified for being discovered, and because
they wished to reconnoitre without being
seen. Mrs. Calvert now charged her, whatever
she saw, or whatever she heard, to put on a resolution,
and support it, for if she fainted there and was
discovered, what was to become of her!
The two young men came on, in earnest and vehement
conversation; but the subject they were on
was a terrible one, and hardly fit to be repeated in
the face of a Christian community. Wringhim was
disputing the boundlessness of the true Christian's
freedom, and expressing doubts, that, chosen as he
knew he was from all eternity, still it might be possible
for him to commit acts that would exclude
him from the limits of the covenant. The other
argued, with mighty fluency, that the thing was utterly
impossible, and altogether inconsistent with
eternal predestination. The arguments of the latter
prevailed, and the laird was driven to sullen silence.
But, to the women's utter surprise, as the
conquering disputant passed, he made a signal of
recognizance through the brambles to them, as formerly,
and that he might expose his associate fully,
and in his true colours, he led him backward and
forward by the women more than twenty times,
making him to confess both the crimes that he had
done, and those he had in contemplation. At
length he said to him, "Assuredly I saw some
strolling vagrant women on this walk, my dear
friend: I wish we could find them, for there is
little doubt that they are concealed here in your
"I wish we could find them," answered Wringhim;
"we would have fine sport maltreating and
abusing them."
"That we should, that we should! Now tell me,
Robert, if you found a malevolent woman, the
latent enemy of your prosperity, lurking in these
woods to betray you, what would you inflict on
"I would tear her to pieces with my dogs, and
feed them with her flesh. O, my dear friend, there
is an old strumpet who lived with my unnatural
father, whom I hold in such utter detestation, that
I stand constantly in dread of her, and would sacrifice
the half of my estate to shed her blood!"
"What will you give me if I will put her in
your power, and give you a fair and genuine excuse
for making away with her; one for which you shall
answer at any bar, here or hereafter?"
"I should like to see the vile hag put down.
She is in possession of the family plate, that is mine
by right, as well as a thousand valuable relics, and
great riches besides, all of which the old profligate
gifted shamefully away. And it is said, besides all
these, that she has sworn my destruction."
"She has, she has. But I see not how she can
accomplish that, seeing the deed was done so suddenly,
and in the silence of the night?"
"It was said there were some on-lookers. — But
where shall we find that disgraceful Miss Logan?"
"I will show you her by and by. But will you
then consent to the other meritorious deed? Come,
be a man, and throw away scruples."
"If you can convince me that the promise is
binding, I will."
"Then step this way, till I give you a piece of
They walked a little way out of hearing, but
went not out of sight; therefore, though the women
were in a terrible quandary, they durst not
stir, for they had some hopes that this extraordinary
person was on a mission of the same sort with
themselves, knew of them, and was going to make
use of their testimony. Mrs. Logan was several
times on the point of falling into a swoon, so much
did the appearance of the young man impress her,
until her associate covered her face that she might
listen without embarrassment. But this latter dialogue
aroused different feelings within them; namely,
those arising from imminent personal danger.
They saw his waggish associate point out the place
of their concealment to Wringhim, who came toward
them, out of curiosity to see what his friend
meant by what he believed to be a joke, manifestly
without crediting it in the least degree. When he
came running away, the other called after him, "If
she is too hard for you, call to me." As he said
this, he hasted out of sight, in the contrary direction,
apparently much delighted with the joke.
Wringhim came rushing through the thicket impetuously,
to the very spot where Mrs. Logan lay
squatted. She held the wrapping close about her
head, but he tore it off and discovered her. "The
curse of God be on thee!" said he: "What fiend
has brought thee here, and for what purpose art
thou come? But, whatever has brought thee, I
have thee!" and with that he seized her by the
throat. The two women, when they heard what
jeopardy they were in from such a wretch, had
squatted among the underwood at a small distance
from each other, so that he had never observed
Mrs. Calvert; but no sooner had he seized her benefactor,
than, like a wild cat, she sprung out of
the thicket, and had both her hands fixed at his
throat, one of them twisted in his stock, in a
twinkling. She brought him back-over among the
brushwood, and the two, fixing on him like two
harpies, mastered him with ease. Then indeed was
he wofully beset. He deemed for a while that his
friend was at his back, and turning his bloodshot
eyes toward the path, he attempted to call; but
there was no friend there, and the women cut short
his cries by another twist of his stock. "Now,
gallant and rightful Laird of Dalcastle," said Mrs.
Logan, "what hast thou to say for thyself? Lay
thy account to dree the weird thou hast so well
earned. Now shalt thou suffer due penance for
murdering thy brave and only brother."
"Thou liest, thou hag of the pit! I touched
not my brother's life."
"I saw thee do it with these eyes that now look
thee in the face; ay, when his back was to thee too,
and while he was hotly engaged with thy friend,"
said Mrs. Calvert.
"I heard thee confess it again and again this
same hour," said Mrs. Logan.
"Ay, and so did I," said her companion. —
"Murder will out, though the Almighty should
lend hearing to the ears of the willow, and speech
to the seven tongues of the woodruff."
"You are liars, and witches!" said he, foaming
with rage, " and creatures fitted from the beginning
for eternal destruction. I'll have your bones
and your blood sacrificed on your cursed altars!
O, Gil-Martin! Gil-Martin! where art thou now?
Here, here is the proper food for blessed vengeance!
— Hilloa!"
There was no friend, no Gil-Martin there to
hear or assist him: he was in the two women's mercy,
but they used it with moderation. They mocked,
they tormented, and they threatened him; but,
finally, after putting him in great terror, they
bound his hands behind his back, and his feet fast
with long straps of garters which they chanced to
have in their baskets, to prevent him from pursuing
them till they were out of his reach. As they
left him, which they did in the middle of the path,
Mrs. Calvert said, "We could easily put an end
to thy sinful life, but our hands shall be free of thy
blood. Nevertheless thou art still in our power,
and the vengeance of thy country shall overtake
thee, thou mean and cowardly murderer, ay, and
that more suddenly than thou art aware!"
The women posted to Edinburgh; and as they
put themselves under the protection of an English
merchant, who was journeying thither with twenty
horses loaden, and armed servants, so they had
scarcely any conversation on the road. When they
arrived at Mrs. Logan's house, then they spoke of
what they had seen and heard, and agreed that they
had sufficient proof to condemn young Wringhim,
who they thought richly deserved the severest doom
of the law.
"I never in my life saw any human being," said
Mrs. Calvert, "whom I thought so like a fiend. If
a demon could inherit flesh and blood, that youth
is precisely such a being as I could conceive that
demon to be. The depth and the malignity of his
eye is hideous. His breath is like the airs from a
charnel house, and his flesh seems fading from his
bones, as if the worm that never dies were gnawing
it away already."
"He was always repulsive, and every way repulsive,"
said the other; "but he is now indeed
altered greatly to the worse. While we were hand--
fasting him, I felt his body to be feeble and emaciated;
but yet I know him to be so puffed up with
spiritual pride, that I believe he weens every one
of his actions justified before God, and instead of
having stings of conscience for these, he takes great
merit to himself in having effected them. Still my
thoughts are less about him than the extraordinary
being who accompanies him. He does every thing
with so much case and indifference, so much velocity
and effect, that all bespeak him an adept in
wickedness. The likeness to my late hapless young
master is so striking, that I can hardly believe it
to be a chance model; and I think he imitates him
in every thing, for some purpose, or some effect on
his sinful associate. Do you know that he is so
like in every lineament, look, and gesture, that,
against the clearest light of reason, I cannot in my
mind separate the one from the other, and have a
certain indefinable impression on my mind, that
they are one and the same being, or that the one
was a prototype of the other."
"If there is an earthly crime," said Mrs. Calvert,
"for the due punishment of which the Almighty
may be supposed to subvert the order of nature, it
is fratricide. But tell me, dear friend, did you remark
to what the subtile and hellish villain was endeavouring
to prompt the assassin?"
"No, I could not comprehend it. My senses
were altogether so bewildered, that I thought they
had combined to deceive me, and I gave them no
"Then hear me: I am almost certain he was
using every persuasion to induce him to make away
with his mother; and I likewise conceive that I
heard the incendiary give his consent!"
"This is dreadful. Let us speak and think no
more about it, till we see the issue. In the meantime,
let us do that which is our bounden duty, — go
and divulge all that we know relating to this foul
Accordingly the two women went to Sir Thomas
Wallace of Craigie, the Lord Justice Clerk, (who
was, I think, either uncle or grandfather to young
Drummond, who was outlawed, and obliged to fly
his country on account of Colwan's death,) and to
that gentleman they related every circumstance of
what they had seen and heard. He examined
Calvert very minutely, and seemed deeply interested
in her evidence — said he knew she was relating
the truth, and in testimony of it, brought a letter
of young Drummond's from his desk, wherein that
young gentleman, after protesting his innocence in
the most forcible terms, confessed having been with
such a woman in such a house, after leaving the
company of his friends; and that on going home,
Sir Thomas's servant had let him in, in the dark,
and from these circumstances he found it impossible
to prove an alibi. He begged of his relative,
if ever an opportunity offered, to do his endeavour
to clear up that mystery, and remove the horrid
stigma from his name in his country, and among
his kin, of having stabbed a friend behind his
Lord Craigie, therefore, directed the two women
to the proper authorities, and after hearing their
evidence there, it was judged proper to apprehend
the present Laird of Dalcastle, and bring him to his
trial. But before that, they sent the prisoner in
the tolbooth, he who had seen the whole transaction
along with Mrs. Calvert, to take a view of Wringhim
privately; and his discrimination being so well
known as to be proverbial all over the land, they
determined secretly to be ruled by his report. They
accordingly sent him on a pretended mission of
legality to Dalcastle, with orders to see and speak
with the proprietor, without giving him a hint what
was wanted. On his return, they examined him,
and he told them that he found all things at the
place in utter confusion and dismay; that the lady
of the place was missing, and could not be found,
dead or alive. On being asked if he had ever seen
the proprietor before, he looked astounded, and unwilling
to answer. But it came out that he had;
and that he had once seen him kill a man on such
a spot at such an hour.
Officers were then despatched, without delay, to
apprehend the monster, and bring him to justice.
On these going to the mansion, and inquiring for
him, they were told he was at home; on which they
stationed guards, and searched all the premises,
but he was not to be found. It was in vain that
they overturned beds, raised floors, and broke open
closets: Robert Wringhim Colwan was lost once
and for ever. His mother also was lost; and strong
suspicions attached to some of the farmers and
house servants, to whom she was obnoxious, relating
to her disappearance. The Honourable Thomas
Drummond became a distinguished officer in the
Austrian service, and died in the memorable year for
Scotland, 1715; and this is all with which history,
justiciary records, and tradition, furnish me relating
to these matters.
I have now the pleasure of presenting my readers
with an original document of a most singular
nature, and preserved for their perusal in a still
more singular manner. I offer no remarks on it,
and make as few additions to it, leaving every one
to judge for himself. We have heard much of the
rage of fanaticism in former days, but nothing to
MY life has been a life of trouble and turmoil;
of change and vicissitude; of anger and exultation;
of sorrow and of vengeance. My sorrows have
all been for a slighted gospel, and my vengeance
has been wreaked on its adversaries. Therefore,
in the might of heaven I will sit down and write:
I will let the wicked of this world know what I
have done in the faith of the promises, and justification
by grace, that they may read and tremble,
and bless their gods of silver and of gold, that
the minister of heaven was removed from their
sphere before their blood was mingled with their
I was born an outcast in the world, in which I
was destined to act so conspicuous a part. My mother
was a burning and a shining light, in the community
of Scottish worthies, and in the days of her
virginity had suffered much in the persecution of
the saints. But it so pleased Heaven, that, as a
trial of her faith, she was married to one of the
wicked; a man all over spotted with the leprosy of
sin. As well might they have conjoined fire and
water together, in hopes that they would consort and
amalgamate, as purity and corruption: She fled
from his embraces the first night after their marriage,
and from that time forth, his iniquities so
galled her upright heart, that she quitted his society
altogether, keeping her own apartments in the
same house with him.
I was the second son of this unhappy marriage,
and, long ere ever I was born, my father according
to the flesh disclaimed all relation or connection
with me, and all interest in me, save what the law
compelled him to take, which was to grant me a
scanty maintenance; and had it not been for a faithful
minister of the gospel, my mother's early instructor,
I should have remained an outcast from
the church visible. He took pity on me, admitting
me not only into that, but into the bosom of his own
household and ministry also, and to him am I indebted,
under Heaven, for the high conceptions and
glorious discernment between good and evil, right
and wrong, which I attained even at an early age.
It was he who directed my studies aright, both in
the learning of the ancient fathers, and the doctrines
of the reformed church, and designed me for
his assistant and successor in the holy office. I missed
no opportunity of perfecting myself particularly
in all the minute points of theology in which my
reverend father and mother took great delight; but
at length I acquired so much skill, that I astonished
my teachers, and made them gaze at one another.
I remember that it was the custom, in my patron's
house, to ask the questions of the Single Catechism
round every Sabbath night. He asked the first,
my mother the second, and so on, every one saying
the question asked, and then asking the next. It
fell to my mother to ask Effectual Calling at me.
I said the answer with propriety and emphasis.
"Now, madam," added I, "my question to you
is, What is Ineffectual Calling?"
"Ineffectual Calling? There is no such thing,
Robert," said she.
"But there is, madam," said I; "and that
answer proves how much you say these fundamental
precepts by rote, and without any consideration.
Ineffectual Calling is, the outward call of the gospel
without any effect on the hearts of unregenerated
and impenitent sinners. Have not all these
the same calls, warnings, doctrines, and reproofs,
that we have? and is not this Ineffectual Calling?
Has not Ardinferry the same? Has not Patrick
M'Lure the same? Has not the Laird of Dalcastle
and his reprobate heir the same? And will any tell
me, that this is not Ineffectual Calling?"
"What a wonderful boy he is!" said my mother.
"I'm feared he turn out to be a conceited gowk,"
said old Barnet, the minister's man.
"No," said my pastor, and father, (as I shall
henceforth denominate him,) "No, Barnet, he is a
wonderful boy; and no marvel, for I have prayed
for these talents to be bestowed on him from his,
infancy: and do you think that Heaven would refuse
a prayer so disinterested? No, it is impossible.
But my dread is, madam," continued he, turning
to my mother, "that he is yet in the bond of
"God forbid!" said my mother.
"I have struggled with the Almighty long and
hard," continued he; "but have as yet had no
certain token of acceptance in his behalf. I have
indeed fought a hard fight, but have been repulsed
by him who hath seldom refused my request;
although I cited his own words against him, and
endeavoured to hold him at his promise, he hath so
many turnings in the supremacy of his power, that
I have been rejected. How dreadful is it to think
of our darling being still without the pale of the
covenant! But I have vowed a vow, and in that
there is hope."
My heart quaked with terror, when I thought
of being still living in a state of reprobation, subjected
to the awful issues of death, judgment, and
eternal misery, by the slightest accident or casualty,
and I set about the duty of prayer myself with
the utmost earnestness. I prayed three times every
day, and seven times on the Sabbath; but the more
frequently and fervently that I prayed, I sinned still
the more. About this time, and for a long period
afterwards, amounting to several years, I lived in
a hopeless and deplorable state of mind; for I said
to myself, "If my name is not written in the book
of life from all eternity, it is in vain for me to presume
that either vows or prayers of mine, or those
of all mankind combined, can ever procure its insertion
now." I had come under many vows, most
solemnly taken, every one of which I had broken;
and I saw with the intensity of juvenile grief, that
there was no hope for me. I went on sinning every
hour, and all the while most strenuously warring
against sin, and repenting of every one transgression,
as soon after the commission of it as I got
leisure to think. But O what a wretched state this
unregenerated state is, in which every effort after
righteousness only aggravates our offences! I found
it vanity to contend; for after communing with
my heart, the conclusion was as follows: "If I
could repent me of all my sins, and shed tears of
blood for them, still have I not a load of original
transgression pressing on me, that is enough to
crush me to the lowest hell. I may be angry with
my first parents for having sinned, but how I shall
repent me of their sin, is beyond what I am able to
Still, in those days of depravity and corruption,
I had some of those principles implanted in my
mind, which were afterward to spring up with such
amazing fertility among the heroes of the faith and
the promises. In particular, I felt great indignation
against all the wicked of this world, and often
wished for the means of ridding it of such a noxious
burden. I liked John Barnet, my reverend
father's serving-man, extremely ill; but, from a supposition
that he might be one of the justified, I refrained
from doing him any injury. He gave always
his word against me, and when we were by
ourselves, in the barn or the fields, he rated me with
such severity for my faults, that my heart could
brook it no longer. He discovered some notorious
lies that I had framed, and taxed me with them in
such a manner that I could in nowise get off. My
cheek burnt with offence, rather than shame; and
he, thinking he had got the mastery of me, exulted
over me most unmercifully, telling me I was a selfish
and conceited blackguard, who made great pretences
towards religious devotion to cloak a disposition
tainted with deceit, and that it would not
much astonish him if I brought myself to the gallows.

I gathered some courage from his over severity,
and answered him as follows: "Who made thee
a judge of the actions or dispositions of the Almighty's
creatures — thou who art a worm, and no
man in his sight? How it befits thee to deal out
judgments and anathemas! Hath he not made one
vessel to honour, and another to dishonour, as in
the case with myself and thee? Hath he not builded
his stories in the heavens, and laid the foundations
thereof in the earth, and how can a being like
thee judge between good and evil, that are both
subjected to the workings of his hand; or of the
opposing principles in the soul of man, correcting,
modifying, and refining one another?"
I said this with that strong display of fervor for
which I was remarkable at my years, and expected
old Barnet to be utterly confounded; but he only
shook his head, and, with the most provoking grin,
said, "There he goes! sickan sublime and ridiculous
sophistry I never heard come out of another
mouth but ane. There needs nae aiths to be
sworn afore the session wha is your father, young
goodman. I ne'er, for my part, saw a son sae like
a dad, sin' my een first opened." With that he went
away, saying, with an ill-natured wince, "You
made to honour and me to dishonour! Dirty bowkail
thing that thou be'st!"
"I will have the old rascal on the hip for this,
if I live," thought I. So I vent and asked my
mother if John was a righteous man? She could
not tell, but supposed he was, and therefore I got
no encouragement from her. I went next to my
reverend father, and inquired his opinion, expecting
as little from that quarter. He knew the elect
as it were by instinct, and could have told you of
all thosein his own, and some neighbouring parishes,
who were born within the boundaries of the covenant
of promise, and who were not.
"I keep a good deal in company with your servant,
old Barnet, father," said I.
"You do, boy; you do, I see," said he.
"I wish I may not keep too much in his company,"
said I, "not knowing what kind of society
I am in; — is John a good man, father?"
"Why, boy, he is but so, so. A morally good
man John is, but very little of the leaven of true
righteousness, which is faith, within. I am afraid
old Barnet, with all his stock of morality, will be a
My heart was greatly cheered by this remark;
and I sighed very deeply, and hung my head to one
side. The worthy father observed me, and inquired
the cause? when I answered as follows: How
dreadful the thought, that I have been going daily
in company and fellowship with one, whose name
is written on the red-letter side of the book of life;
whose body and soul have been, from all eternity,
consigned over to everlasting destruction, and to
whom the blood of the atonement can never, never
reach! Father, this is an awful thing, and beyond
my, comprehension."
"While we are in the world, we must mix with
the inhabitants thereof," said he; "and the stains
which adhere to us by reason of this admixture,
which is unavoidable, shall all be washed away. It
is our duty, however, to shun the society of wicked
men as much as possible, lest we partake of their
sins, and become sharers with them in punishment.
John, however, is a morally good man, and may
yet get a cast of grace."
"I always thought him a good man till to day,"
said I, "when he threw out some reflections on
your character, so horrible that I quake to think
of the wickedness and malevolence of his heart.
He was rating me very impertinently for some
supposed fault, which had no being save in his
own jealous brain, when I attempted to reason
him out of his belief in the spirit of calm
Christian argument. But how do you think he
answered me? He did so, sir, by twisting his
mouth at me, and remarking that such sublime and
ridiculous sophistry never came out of another
mouth but one, (meaning yours,) and that no oath
before a kirk session was necessary to prove who
was my dad, for that he had never seen a son so
like a father as I was like mine."
"He durst not for his soul's salvation, and for
his daily bread, which he values much more, say
such a word, boy; therefore take care what you
assert," said my reverend father.
"He said these very words, and will not deny
them, sir," said I.
My reverend father turned about in great wrath
and indignation, and went away in search of
John; but I kept out of the way, and listened at
a back window; for John was dressing the plot of
ground behind the house; and I hope it was no
sin in me that I did rejoice in the dialogue which
took place, it being the victory of righteousness
over error.
"Well, John, this is a fine day for your delving
"Ey, it's a tolerable day, sir."
"Are you thankful in your heart, John, for
such temporal mercies as these?"
"Aw doubt we're a' ower little thankfu', sir,
baith for temporal an' speeritual mercies; but it
isna aye the maist thankfu' heart that maks the
greatest fraze wi' the tongue."
"I hope there is nothing personal under that
remark, John?"
"Gin the bannet fits ony body's head, they're
unco welcome to it, sir, for me."
"John, I do not approve of these innuendoes.
You have an arch malicious manner of vending
your aphorisms, which the men of the world are
too apt to read the wrong way, for your dark hints
are sure to have one very bad meaning."
"Hout na, sir, it's only bad folks that think
sae. They find ma bits o' gibes come hame to
their hearts wi' a kind o' yerk, an' that gars them
"That saying is ten times worse than the other,
John; it is a manifest insult: it is just telling
me to my face, that you think me a bad man."
"A body canna help his thoughts, sir."
"No, but a man's thoughts are generally formed
from observation. Now I should like to know,
even from the mouth of a misbeliever, what part
of my conduct warrants such a conclusion?"
"Nae particular pairt, sir; I draw a' my conclusions
frae the hail o' a man's character, an' I'm no
that aften far wrang."
"Well, John, and what sort of general character
do you suppose mine to be?"
"Yours is a Scripture character, sir, an' I'll
prove it."
"I hope so, John. Well, which of the Scripture
characters do you think approximates nearest
to my own?"
"Guess, sir, guess; I wish to lead a proof."
"Why, if it be an Old Testament character, I
hope it is Melchizedek, for at all events you cannot
deny there is one point of resemblance: I, like
him, am a preacher of righteousness. If it be a
New Testament character, I suppose you mean the
Apostle of the Gentiles, of whom I am an unworthy
"Na, na, sir, better nor that still, an' fer closer
is the resemblance. When ye bring me to the
point, I maun speak. Ye are the just Pharisee,
sir, that gaed up wi' the poor publican to pray in
the Temple; an' ye're acting the very same pairt at
this time, an' saying i' your heart, 'God, I thank
thee that I am not as other men are, an' in nae
way like this poor misbelieving unregenerate sinner,
John Barnet.'"
"I hope I may say so indeed."
"There now! I tauld you how it was! But,
d'ye hear, maister: Here stands the poor sinner,
John Barnet, your beadle an' servant-man, wha
wadna change chances wi' you in the neist world,
nor consciences in this, for ten times a' that you possess,
— your justification by faith an' awthegither."
"You are extremely audacious and impertinent,
John; but the language of reprobation cannot affect
me: I came only to ask you one question,
which I desire you to answer candidly. Did you
ever say to any one that I was the boy Robert's
natural father?"
"Hout na, sir! Ha—ha—ha! Aih, fie na, sir! I
durstna say that for my life. I doubt the black
stool, an' the sack gown, or maybe the juggs wad
hae been my portion had I said sic a thing as that.
Hout, hout! Fie, fie! Unco-like doings thae for
a Melchizedek or a Saint Paul!"
"John, you are a profane old man, and I desire
that you will not presume to break your jests on
me. Tell me, dare you say, or dare you think,
that I am the natural father of that boy?"
"Ye canna hinder me to think whatever I like,
sir, nor can I hinder mysel."
"But did you ever say to any one, that he resembled
me, and fathered himself well enough?"
"I hae said mony a time, that he resembled
you, sir. Naebody can mistake that."
"But, John, there are many natural reasons for
such likenesses, besides that of consanguinity. They
depend much on the thoughts and affections of the
mother; and, it is probable, that the mother of
this boy, being deserted by her worthless husband,
having turned her thoughts on me, as likely to be
her protector, may have caused this striking resemblance."

"Ay, it may be, sir. I coudna say."
"I have known a lady, John, who was delivered
of a blackamoor child, merely from the circumstance
of having got a start by the sudden entrance of her
negro servant, and not being able to forget him for
several hours."
"It may be, sir; but I ken this; — an I had
been the laird, I wadna hae ta'en that story in."
"So, then, John, you positively think, from a
casual likeness, that this boy is my son?"
"Man's thoughts are vanity, sir; they come
unasked, an' gang away without a dismissal, an' he
canna help them. I'm neither gaun to say that I
think he's your son, nor that I think he's no your
son: sae ye needna pose me nae mair about it."
"Hear then my determination, John: If you do
not promise to me, in faith and honour, that you
never will say, or insinuate such a thing again in
your life, as that that boy is my natural son, I will
take the keys of the church from you, and dismiss
you my service."
John pulled out the keys, and dashed them on
the gravel at the reverend minister's feet. "There
are the keys o' your kirk, sir! I hae never had
muckle mense o' them sin' ye entered the door o't.
I hae carried them this three an thretty year, but
they hae aye been like to burn a hole i' my pouch
sin' ever they were turned for your admittance.
Tak them again, an' gie them to wha you will, and
muckle gude may he get o' them. Auld John may
dee a beggar in a hay barn, or at the back of a
dike, but he sail aye be master o' his ain thoughts,
an' gie them vent or no, as he likes."
He left the manse that day, and I rejoiced in
the riddance; for I disdained to be kept so much
under, by one who was in the bond of iniquity, and
of whom there seemed no hope, as he rejoiced in
his frowardness, and refused to submit to that faithful
teacher, his master.
It was about this time that my reverend father
preached a sermon, one sentence of which affected
me most disagreeably: It was to the purport, that
every unrepented sin was productive of a new sin
with each breath that a man drew; and every one
of these new sins added to the catalogue in the same
manner. I was utterly confounded at the multitude
of my transgressions; for I was sensible that
there were great numbers of sins of which I had
never been able thoroughly to repent, and these
momentary ones, by a moderate calculation, had, I
saw, long ago, amounted to a hundred and fifty
thousand in the minute, and I saw no end to the
series of repentances to which I had subjected myself.
A life-time was nothing to enable me to accomplish
the sum, and then being, for any thing
I was certain of, in my state of nature, and the
grace of repentance withheld from me, — what was I
to do, or what was to become of me? In the
meantime, I went on sinning without measure; but
I was still more troubled about the multitude than
the magnitude of my transgressions, and the small
minute ones puzzled me more than those that were
more heinous, as the latter had generally some' good
effects in the way of punishing wicked men, froward
boys, and deceitful women; and I rejoiced,
even then in my early youth, at being used as a
scourge in the hand of the Lord; another Jehu,
a Cyrus, or a Nebuchadnezzar.
On the whole, I remember that I got into great
confusion relating to my sins and repentances, and
knew neither where to begin nor how to proceed,
and often had great fears that I was wholly without
Christ, and that I would find God a consuming fire
to me. I could not help running into new sins
continually; but then I was mercifully dealt with,
for I was often made to repent of them most
heartily, by reason of bodily chastisements received
on these delinquencies being discovered. I was
particularly prone to lying, and I cannot but admire
the mercy that has freely forgiven me all these
juvenile sins. Now that I know them all to be
blotted out, and that I am an accepted person, I
may the more freely confess them: the truth is, that
one lie always paved the way for another, from hour
to hour, from day to day, and from year to year;
so that I found myself constantly involved in a
labyrinth of deceit, from which it was impossible to
extricate myself. If I knew a person to be a godly
one, I could almost have kissed his feet; but
against the carnal portion of mankind, I set my face
continually. I esteemed the true ministers of the
gospel; but the prelatic party, and the preachers
up of good works I abhorred, and to this hour I
account them the worst and most heinous of all
There was only one boy at Mr. Wilson's class
who kept always the upper hand of me in every
part of education. I strove against him from year
to year, but it was all in vain; for he was a very
wicked boy, and I was convinced he had dealings
with the devil. Indeed it was believed all over
the country that his mother was a witch; and I
was at length convinced that it was no human ingenuity
that beat me with so much ease in the
Latin, after I had often sat up a whole night with
my reverend father, studying my lesson in all its
bearings. I often read as well and sometimes
better than he; but the moment Mr. Wilson began
to examine us, my opponent popped up above me.
I determined, (as I knew him for a wicked person,
and one of the devil's hand-fasted children,) to be
revenged on him, and to humble him by some
means or other. Accordingly I lost no opportunity
of setting the Master against him, and succeeded
several times in getting him severely beaten
for faults of which he was innocent. I can hardly
describe the joy that it gave to my heart to see a
wicked creature suffering, for though he deserved
it not for one thing, he richly deserved it for
others. This may be by some people accounted
a great sin in me; but I deny it, for I did it as a
duty, and what a man or boy does for the right,
will never be put into the sum of his transgressions.

This boy, whose name was M'Gill, was, at all
his leisure hours, engaged in drawing profane pictures
of beasts, men, women, houses, and trees,
and, in short, of all things that his eye encountered.
These profane things the Master often smiled at,
and admired; therefore I began privately to try
my hand likewise. I had scarcely tried above once
to draw the figure of a man, ere I conceived that I
had hit the very features of Mr. Wilson. They
were so particular, that they could not be easily mistaken,
and I was so tickled and pleased with the
droll likeness that I had drawn, that I laughed
immoderately at it. I tried no other figure but
this; and I tried it in every situation in which a
man and a schoolmaster could be placed. I often
wrought for hours together at this likeness, nor was
it long before I made myself so much master of
the outline, that I could have drawn it in any
situation whatever, almost off hand. I then took
M'Gill's account book of algebra home with me,
and at my leisure put down a number of gross caricatures
of Mr. Wilson here and there, several of
them in situations notoriously ludicrous. I waited
the discovery of this treasure with great impatience;
but the book, chancing to be one that M'Gill
was not using, I saw it might be long enough
before I enjoyed the consummation of my grand
scheme: therefore, with all the ingenuity I was
master of, I brought it before our dominie's eye.
But never shall I forget the rage that gleamed in
the tyrant's phiz! I was actually terrified to look
at him, and trembled at his voice. M'Gill was
called upon, and examined relating to the obnoxious
figures. He denied flatly that any of them were
of his doing. But the Master inquiring at him
whose they were, he could not tell, but affirmed it
to be some trick. Mr. Wilson at one time, began,
as I thought, to hesitate; but the evidence was so
strong against M'Gill, that at length his solemn
asseverations of innocence only proved an aggravation
of his crime. There was not one in the school
who had ever been known to draw a figure but himself,
and on him fell the wholeweight of the tyrant's
vengeance. It was dreadful; and I was once in
hopes that he would not leave life in the culprit.
He, however, left the school for several months, refusing
to return to be subjected to punishment for
the faults of others, and I stood king of the class.
Matters were at last made up between M'Gill's
parents and the schoolmaster, but by that time I
had got the start of him, and never in my life did
I exert myself so much as to keep the mastery. It
was in vain; the powers of enchantment prevailed,
and I was again turned down with the tear in my
eye. I could think of no amends but one, and being
driven to desperation, I put it in practice. I
told a lie of him. I came boldly up to the master,
and told him that M'Gill had in my hearing
cursed him in a most shocking manner, and called
him vile names. He called M'Gill, and charged
him with the crime, and the proud young coxcomb
was so stunned at the atrocity of the charge,
that his face grew as red as crimson, and the words
stuck in his throat as he feebly denied it. His
guilt was manifest, and he was again flogged most
nobly, and dismissed the school for ever in disgrace,
as a most incorrigible vagabond.
This was a great victory gained, and I rejoiced
and exulted exceedingly in it. It had, however,
very nigh cost me my life; for not long thereafter,
I encountered M'Gill in the fields, on which he
came up and challenged me for a liar, daring me to
fight him. I refused, and said that I looked on
him as quite below my notice; but he would not
quit me, and finally told me that he should either
lick me, or I should lick him, as he had no other
means of being revenged on such a scoundrel. I
tried to intimidate him, but it would not do; and
I believe I would have given all that I had in the
world to be quit of him. He at length went so far
as first to kick me, and then strike me on the face;
and, being both older and stronger than he, I
thought it scarcely became me to take such insults
patiently. I was, nevertheless, well aware that the
devilish powers of his mother would finally prevail;
and either the dread of this, or the inward consciousness
of having wronged him, certainly unnerved my
arm, for I fought wretchedly, and was soon wholly
overcome. I was so sore defeated, that I kneeled,
and was going to beg his pardon; but another
thought struck me momentarily, and I threw myself
on my face, and inwardly begged aid from heaven;
at the same time I felt as if assured that my
prayer was heard, and would be answered. While
I was in this humble attitude, the villain kicked
me with his foot and cursed me; and I being newly
encouraged, arose and encountered him once more.
We had not fought long at this second turn, before
I saw a man hastening toward us; on which I uttered
a shout of joy, and laid on valiantly; but my very
next look assured me, that the man was old John
Barnet, whom I had likewise wronged all that was
in my power, and between these two wicked persons
I expected any thing but justice. My arm
was again enfeebled, and that of my adversary prevailed.
I was knocked down and mauled most
grievously, and while the ruffian was kicking and
cuffing me at his will and pleasure, up came old
John Barnet, breathless with running, and at one
blow with his open hand, levelled my opponent with
the earth. "Tak ye that, maister!" says John,
"to learn ye better breeding. Hout awa, man! an
ye will fight, fight fair. Gude sauf us, ir ye a
gentleman's brood, that ye will kick an' cuff a lad
when he's down?"
When I heard this kind and unexpected interference,
I began once more to value myself on my
courage, and springing up, I made at my adversary;
but John, without saying a word, bit his lip,
and seizing me by the neck, threw me down. M'Gill
begged of him to stand and see fair play, and suffer
us to finish the battle; for, added he, "he is a
liar, and a scoundrel, and deserves ten times more
than I can give him."
"I ken he's a' that ye say, an' mair, my man,"
quoth John: "But am I sure that ye're no as bad,
an' waur? It says nae muckle for ony o' ye to be
tearing like tikes at ane anither here."
John cocked his cudgel and stood between us,
threatening to knock the one dead, who first offered
to lift his hand against the other but, perceiving
no disposition in any of us to separate, he drove me
home before him like a bullock, keeping close guard
behind me, lest M'Gill had followed. I felt greatly
indebted to John, yet I complained of his interference
to my mother, and the old officious sinner
got no thanks for his pains.
As I am writing only from recollection, so I remember
of nothing farther in these early days, in
the lest worthy of being recorded. That I was a
great, a transcendent sinner, I confess. But still I
had hopes of forgiveness, because I never sinned
from principle, but accident; and then I always
tried to repent of these sins by the slump, for individually
it was impossible; and though not always
successful in my endeavours, I could not help
that; the grace of repentance being withheld from
me, I regarded myself as in no degree accountable
for the failure. Moreover, there were many of the
most deadly sins into which I never fell, for I dreaded
those mentioned in the Revelations as excluding
sins, so that I guarded against them continually.
In particular, I brought myself to despise, if not
to abhor, the beauty of women, looking on it as the
greatest snare to which mankind are subjected, and
though young men and maidens, and even old women,
(my mother among the rest,) taxed me with
being an unnatural wretch, I gloried in my acquisition;
and to this day, am thankful for having escaped
the most dangerous of all snares.
I kept myself also free of the sins of idolatry,
and misbelief, both of a deadly nature; and, upon
the whole, I think I had not then broken, that is,
absolutely broken, above four out of the ten commandments;
but for all that, I had more sense than
to regard either my good works, or my evil deeds,
as in the smallest degree influencing the eternal
decrees of God concerning me, either with regard
to my acceptance or reprobation. I depended entirely
on the bounty of free grace, holding all the
righteousness of man as filthy rags, and believing
in the momentous and magnificent truth, that the
more heavily loaden with transgressions, the more
welcome was the believer at the throne of grace.
And I have reason to believe that it was this dependence
and this belief that at last ensured my
acceptance there.
I come now to the most important period of
my existence, — the period that has modelled my
character, and influenced every action of my life,
— without which, this detail of my actions would
have been as a tale that hath been told — a monotonous
farrago — an uninteresting harangue—
in short, a thing of nothing. Whereas, lo! it
must now be a relation of great and terrible
actions, done in the might, and by the commission
of heaven. Amen.
Like the sinful king of Israel, I had been walking
softly before the Lord for a season. I had been
humbled for my transgressions, and, as far as I recollect,
sorry on account of their numbers and heinousness.
My reverend father had been, moreover,
examining me every day regarding the state
of my soul, and my answers sometimes appeared to
give him satisfaction, and sometimes not. As for
my mother, she would harp on the subject of my
faith for ever; yet, though I knew her to be a
Christian, I confess that I always despised her motley
instructions, nor had I any great regard for
her person. If this was a crime in me, I never
could help it. I confess it freely, and believe it
was a judgment from heaven inflicted on her for
some sin of former days, and that I had no power
to have acted otherwise toward her than I did.
In this frame of mind was I, when my reverend
father one morning arose from his seat, and, meeting
me as I entered the room, he embraced me, and
welcomed me into the community of the just upon
earth. I was struck speechless, and could make no
answer save by looks of surprise. My mother also
came to me, kissed, and wept over me; and after
showering unnumbered blessings on my head, she
also welcomed me into the society of the just made
perfect. Then each of them took me by a hand,
and my reverend father explained to me how he
had wrestled with God, as the patriarch of old had
done, not for a night, but for days and years, and
that in bitterness and anguish of spirit, on my account;
but that he had at last prevailed, and had
now gained the long and earnestly desired assurance
of my acceptance with the Almighty, in and
through the merits and sufferings of his Son: That
I was now a justified person, adopted among the
number of God's children — my name written in the
Lamb's book of life, and that no bypast transgression,
nor any future act of my own, or of other men,
could be instrumental in altering the decree. "All
the powers of darkness," added he, "shall never
be able to pluck you again out of your Redeemer's
hand. And now, my son, be strong and stedfast
in the truth. Set your face against sin, and sinful
men, and resist even to blood, as many of the faithful
of this land have done, and your reward shall
be double. I am assured of your acceptance by
the word and spirit of him who cannot err, and
your sanctification and repentance unto life will follow
in due course. Rejoice and be thankful, for
you are plucked as a brand out of the burning, and
now your redemption is sealed and sure."
I wept for joy to be thus assured of my freedom
from all sin, and of the impossibility of my ever
again falling away from my new state. I bounded
away into the fields and the woods, to pour out my
spirit in prayer before the Almighty for his kind,
ness to me: my whole frame seemed to be renewed;
every nerve was buoyant with new life; I felt
as if I could have flown in the air, or leaped over
the tops of the trees. An exaltation of spirit lifted
me, as it were, far above the earth, and the sinful
creatures crawling on its surface; and I deemed
myself as an eagle among the children of men, soaring
on high, and looking down with pity and contempt
on the grovelling creatures below.
As I thus wended my way, I beheld a young
man of a mysterious appearance coming towards
me. I tried to shun him, being bent on my own
contemplations; but he cast himself in my way, so
that I could not well avoid him; and more than
that, I felt a sort of invisible power that drew me
towards him, something like the force of enchantwent,
which I could not resist. As we approached
each other, our eyes met, and I can never describe
the strange sensations that thrilled through my
whole frame at that impressive moment; a moment
to me fraught with the most tremendous consequences;
the beginning of a series of adventures
which has puzzled myself, and will puzzle the world
when I am no more in it. That time will now soon
arrive, sooner than any one can devise who knows
not the tumult of my thoughts, and the labour of
my spirit; and when it bath come and passed over,
— when my flesh and my bones are decayed, and
my soul has passed to its everlasting home, then shall
the sons of men ponder on the events of my life;
wonder and tremble, and tremble and wonder how
such things should be.
That stranger youth and I approached each other
in silence, and slowly, with our eyes fixed on each
other's eyes. We approached till not more than a
yard intervened between us, and then stood still and
gazed, measuring each other from head to foot. What
was my astonishment, on perceiving that he was the
same being as myself! The clothes were the same to
the smallest item. The form was the same; the apparent
age; the colour of the hair; the eyes; and,
as far as recollection could serve me from viewing
my own features in a glass, the features too were
the very same. I conceived at first, that I saw a
vision, and that my guardian angel had appeared to
me at this important era of my life; but this singular
being read my thoughts in my looks, anticipating
the very words that I was going to utter.

"You think I am your brother," said he; "or
that I am your second self. I am indeed your
brother, not according to the flesh, but in my belief
of the same truths, and my assurance in the
same mode of redemption, than which, I hold nothing
so great or so glorious on earth."
"Then you are an associate well adapted to my
present state," said I. "For this time is a time
of great rejoicing in spirit to me. I am on my way
to return thanks to the Most High for my redemtion
from the bonds of sin and misery. If you will
join with me heart and hand in youthful thanksgiving,
then shall we two go and worship together
but if not, go your way, and I shall go mine."
"Ah, you little know with how much pleasure
I will accompany you, and join with you in your
elevated devotions," said he fervently. "Your
state is a state to be envied indeed; but I have
been advised of it, and am come to be a humble
disciple of yours; to be initiated into the true way
of salvation by conversing with you, and perhaps
by being assisted by your prayers."
My spiritual pride being greatly elevated by this
address, I began to assume the preceptor, and
questioned this extraordinary youth with regard
to his religious principles, telling him plainly, if he
was one who expected acceptance with God at all,
on account of good works, that I would hold no
communion with him. He renounced these at
once, with the greatest vehemence, and declared
his acquiescence in my faith. I asked if he believed
in the eternal and irrevocable decrees of God,
regarding the salvation and condemnation of all
mankind? He answered that he did so: aye,
what would signify all things else that he believed,
if he did not believe in that? We then went
on to commune about all our points of belief; and
in every thing that I suggested, he acquiesced, and,
as I thought that day, often carried them to extremes,
so that I had a secret dread he was advancing
blasphemies. Yet he had such a way
with him, and paid such a deference to all my opinions,
that I was quite captivated, and, at the same
time, I stood in a sort of awe of him, which I could
not account for, and several times was seized with
an involuntary inclination to escape from his presence,
by making a sudden retreat. But he seemed
constantly to anticipate my thoughts, and was sure
to divert my purpose by some turn in the conversation
that particularly interested me. He took care
to dwell much on the theme of the impossibility of
those ever falling away, who were once accepted
and received into covenant with God, for he seemed
to know, that in that confidence, and that trust
my whole hopes were centred.
We moved about from one place to another, until
the day was wholly spent. My mind had all
the while been kept in a state of agitation resembling
the motion of a whirlpool, and when we came
to separate, I then discovered that the purpose for
which I had sought the fields had been neglected
and that I had been diverted from the worship of
God, by attending to the quibbles and dogmas of
this singular and unaccountable being, who seemed
to have more knowledge and information than all
the persons I had ever known put together.
We parted with expressions of mutual regret,
and when I left him I felt a deliverance, but at the
same time a certain consciousness that I was not
thus to get free of him, but that he was like to be
an acquaintance that was to stick to me for good or
for evil. I was astonished at his acuteness and knowledge
about every thing; but as for his likeness to
me, that was quite unaccountable. He was the
same person in every respect, but yet he was not
always so; for I observed several times, when we
were speaking of certain divines and their tenets,
that his face assumed something of the appearance
of theirs; and it struck me, that by setting his features
to the mould of other people's, he entered at
once into their conceptions and feelings. I had
been greatly flattered, and greatly interested by his
conversation; whether I had been the better for it
or the worse, I could not tell. I had been diverted
from returning thanks to my gracious Maker for
his great kindness to me, and came home as I went
away, but not with the same buoyancy and lightness
of heart. Well may I remember that day in
which I was first received into the number, and
made an heir to all the privileges of the children
of God, and on which I first met this mysterious
associate, who from that day forth contrived to wind
himself into all my affairs, both spiritual and temporal,
to this day on which I am writing the account
of it. It was on the 25th day of March
1704, when I had just entered the eighteenth year
of my age. Whether it behoves me to bless God
for the events of that day, or to deplore them, has
been hid from my discernment, though I have inquired
into it with fear and trembling; and I have
now lost all hopes of ever discovering the true import
of these events until that day when my accounts
are to make up and reckon for in another
When I came home, I went straight into the parlour,
where my mother was sitting by herself. She
started to her feet, and uttered a smothered scream
"What ails you, Robert?" cried she. "My dear
son, what is the matter with you?"
"Do you see any thing the matter with me?
said I. "It appears that the ailment is with yourself,
and either in your crazed head or your dim
eyes, for there is nothing the matter with me."
"Ah, Robert, you are ill!" cried she; "you are
very ill, my dear boy; you are quite changed
your very voice and manner are changed. Ah,
Jane, haste you up to the study, and tell Mr.
Wringhim to come here on the instant and speak
to Robert."
"I beseech you, woman, to restrain yourself," said
I. "If you suffer your frenzy to run away with your
judgment in this manner, I will leave the house
What do you mean? I tell you, there is nothing
ails me: I never was better."
She screamed, and ran between me and the door,
to bar my retreat: in the meantime my reverend
father entered, and I have not forgot how he gazed,
through his glasses, first at my mother, and then
at me. I imagined that his eyes burnt like candles,
and was afraid of him, which I suppose made my
looks more unstable than they would otherwise have
"What is all this for?" said he. "Mistress!
Robert! What is the matter here?"
"Oh, sir, our boy!" cried my mother; "our
dear boy, Mr. Wringhim! Look at him, and speak
to him: he is either dying or translated, sir!"
He looked at me with a countenance of great
alarm; mumbling some sentences to himself, and
then taking me by the arm, as if to feel my pulse,
he said, with a faltering voice, "Something has
indeed befallen you, either in body or mind, boy,
for you are transformed, since the morning, that I
could not have known you for the same person.
Have you met with any accident?"
"Have you seen any thing out of the ordinary
course of nature?"
"Then, Satan, I fear, has been busy with you,
tempting you in no ordinary degree at this momentous
crisis of your life?"
My mind turned on my associate for the day
and the idea that he might be an agent of the
devil, had such an effect on me, that I could make
no answer.
"I see how it is," said he; "you are troubled
in spirit, and I have no doubt that the enemy of
our salvation has been busy with you. Tell me
this, has he overcome you, or has he not?"
"He has not, my dear father," said I. "In the
strength of the Lord, I hope I have withstood him.
But indeed, if he has been busy with me, I knew
it not. I have been conversant this day with one
stranger only, whom I took rather for an angel of
"It is one of the devil's most profound wiles to
appear like one," said my mother.
"Woman, hold thy peace!" said my reverend
father: "thou pretendest to teach what thou
knowest not. Tell me this, boy: Did this stranger,
with whom you met, adhere to the religious
principles in which I have educated you?"
"Yes, to every one of them, in their fullest latitude,"
said I.
"Then he was no agent of the wicked one with
whom you held converse," said he; "for that is
the doctrine that was made to overturn the principalities
and powers, the might and dominion of the
kingdom of darkness. — Let us pray."
After spending about a quarter of an hour in
solemn and sublime thanksgiving, this saintly man
and minister of Christ Jesus, gave out that the
day following should be kept by the family as a
day of solemn thanksgiving, and spent in prayer
and praise, on account of the calling and election
of one of its members; or rather for the election
of that individual being revealed on earth, as well
as confirmed in heaven.
The next day was with me a day of holy exultation.
It was begun by my reverend father laying
his hands upon my head and blessing me, and
then dedicating me to the Lord in the most awful
and impressive manner. It was in no common way
that he exercised this profound rite, for it was
done with all the zeal and enthusiasm of a devotee
to the true cause, and a champion on the side he
had espoused. He used these remarkable words,
which I have still treasured up in my heart: — "I
give him unto Thee only, to Thee wholly, and to
Thee for ever. I dedicate him unto Thee, soul,
body, and spirit. Not as the wicked of this world, or
the hirelings of a church profanely called by Thy
name, do I dedicate this Thy servant to Thee:
Not in words and form, learned by rote, and dictated
by the limbs of Antichrist, but, Lord, I
give him into Thy hand, as a captain putteth a sword
into the hand of his sovereign, wherewith to lay
waste his enemies. May he be a two-edged weapon
in Thy hand, and a spear coming out of Thy
mouth, to destroy, and overcome, and pass over;
and may the enemies of Thy church fall down before
him, and be as dung to fat the land!"
From that moment, I conceived it decreed, not
that I should be a minister of the gospel, but a
champion of it, to cut off the enemies of the Lord
from the face of the earth; and I rejoiced in the
commission, finding it more congenial to my nature
to be cutting sinners off with the sword, than to be
haranguing them from the pulpit, striving to produce
an effect, which God, by his act of absolute
predestination, had for ever rendered impracticable.
The more I pondered on these things, the more I
saw of the folly and inconsistency of ministers, in
spending their lives, striving and remonstrating
with sinners, in order to induce them to do that
which they had it not in their power to do. Seeing
that God had from all eternity decided the fate
of every individual that was to be born of woman,
how vain was it in man to endeavour to save those
whom their Maker had, by an unchangeable decree,
doomed to destruction. I could not disbelieve the
doctrine which the best of men had taught me, and
toward which he made the whole of the Scriptures
to bear, and yet it made the economy of the Christian
world appear to me as an absolute contradiction.
How much more wise would it be, thought
I, to begin and cut sinners off with the sword! for
till that is effected, the saints can never inherit the
earth in peace. Should I be honoured as an instrument
to begin this great work of purification, I
should rejoice in it. But then, where had I the
means, or under what direction was I to begin?
There was one thing clear, I was now the Lord's,
and it behoved me to bestir myself in his service.
O that I had an host at my command, then would
I be as a devouring fire among the workers of iniquity!

Full of these great ideas, I hurried through the
city, and sought again the private path through
the field and wood of Finnieston, in which my
reverend preceptor had the privilege of walking
for study, and to which he had a key that was always
at my command. Near one of the stiles, I
perceived a young man sitting in a devout posture
reading on a Bible. He rose, lifted his hat, and
made an obeisance to me, which I returned and
walked on. I had not well crossed the stile, till it
struck me I knew the face of the youth, and that
he was some intimate acquaintance, to whom I ought
to have spoken. I walked on, and returned, and
walked on again, trying to recollect who he was;
but for my life I could not . There was, however, a
fascination in his look and manner, that drew me
back toward him in spite of myself, and I resolved
to go to him, if it were merely to speak and see
who he was.
I came up to him and addressed him, but he
was so intent on his book, that, though I spoke, he
lifted not his eyes. I looked on the book also, and
still it seemed a Bible, having columns, chapters,
and verses; but it was in a language of which I
was wholly ignorant, and all intersected with red
lines, and verses. A sensation resembling a stroke
of electricity came over me, on first casting my
eyes on that mysterious book, and I stood motionless.
He looked up, smiled, closed his book, and
put it in his bosom. "You seem strangely affected,
dear sir, by looking on my book," said he mildly.
"In the name of God, what book is that?" said
I: "Is it a Bible?"
"It is my Bible, sir," said he; "but I will cease
reading it, for I am glad to see you. Pray, is not
this a day of holy festivity with you?"
I stared in his face, but made no answer, for my
senses were bewildered.
"Do you not know me?" said he. "You appear
to be somehow at a loss. Had not you and I
some sweet communion and fellowship yesterday?"
"I beg your pardon, sir," said I. "But surely
if you are the young gentleman with whom I spent
the hours yesterday, you have the cameleon art of
changing your appearance; I never could have
recognized you."
"My countenance changes with my studies and
sensations," said he. "It is a natural peculiarity
in me, over which I have not full control. If I
contemplate a man's features seriously, mine own
gradually assume the very same appearance and
character. And what is more, by contemplating a
face minutely, I not only attain the same likeness,
but, with the likeness, I attain the very same ideas
as well as the same mode of arranging them, so
that, you see, by looking at a person attentively, I
by degrees assume his likeness, and by assuming
his likeness I attain to the possession of his most
secret thoughts. This, I say, is a peculiarity in
my nature, a gift of the God that made me; but
whether or not given me for a blessing, he knows
himself, and so do I. At all events, I have this
privilege, — I can never be mistaken of a character
in whom I am interested."
"It is a rare qualification," replied I, "and I
would give worlds to possess it. Then, it appears,
that it is needless to dissemble with you, since you
can at any time extract our most secret thoughts
from our bosoms. You already know my natural
"Yes," said he, "and it is that which attaches
me to you. By assuming your likeness yesterday,
I became acquainted with your character, and was
no less astonished at the profundity and range of
your thoughts, than at the heroic magnanimity
with which these were combined. And now, in addition
to these, you are dedicated to the great
work of the Lord; for which reasons I have resolved
to attach myself as closely to you as possible,
and to render you all the service of which my
poor abilities are capable."
I confess that I was greatly flattered by these
compliments paid to my abilities by a youth of such
superior qualifications; by one who, with a modesty
and affability rare at his age, combined a
height of genius and knowledge almost above human
comprehension. Nevertheless, I began to assume
a certain superiority of demeanour toward him, as
judging it incumbent on me to do so, in order to
keep up his idea of my exalted character. We conversed
again till the day was near a close; and the
things that he strove most to inculcate on my mind
were the infallibility of the elect, and the pre-ordination
of all things that come to pass. I pretended
to controvert the first of these, for the purpose
of showing him the extent of my argumentative
powers, and said, that "indubitably there were
degrees of sinning which would induce the Almighty
to throw off the very elect." But behold
my hitherto humble and modest companion took
up the argument with such warmth, that he put me
not only to silence, but to absolute shame.
"Why, sir," said he, "by vending such an insinuation,
you put discredit on the great atonement,
in which you trust. Is there not enough of
merit in the blood of Jesus to save thousands of
worlds, if it was for these worlds that he died? Now,
when you know, as you do, (and as every one of
the elect may know of himself,) that this Saviour
died for you, namely and particularly, dare you say
that there is not enough of merit in his great atonement
to annihilate all your sins, let them be as heinous
and atrocious as they may? And, moreover,
do you not acknowledge that God hath preordained
and decreed whatsoever comes to pass? Then,
how is it that you should deem it in your power to
eschew one action of your life, whether good or
evil? Depend on it, the advice of the great preacher
is genuine: What thine hand findeth to do, do
it with all thy might, for none of us knows what a
day may bring forth?' That is, none of us knows
what is pre-ordained, but whatever is pre-ordained
we must do, and none of these things will be laid
to our charge."
I could hardly believe that these sayings were
genuine or orthodox; but I soon felt, that, instead
of being a humble disciple of mine, this new acquaintance
was to be my guide and director, and all
under the humble guise of one stooping at my feet
to learn the right. He said that he saw I was ordained
to perform some great action for the cause
of Jesus and his church, and he earnestly coveted
being a partaker with me; but he besought of me
never to think it possible for me to fall from the
truth, or the favour of him who had chosen me,
else that misbelief would baulk every good work to
which I set my face.
There was something so flattering in all this, that
I could not resist it. Still, when he took leave of
me, I felt it as a great relief; and yet, before the
morrow, I wearied and was impatient to see him
again. We carried on our fellowship from day to
day, and all the while I knew not who he was, and
still my mother and reverend father kept insisting
that I was an altered youth, changed in my appearance,
my manners, and my whole conduct; yet
something always prevented me from telling them
more about my new acquaintance than I had done
on the first day we met. I rejoiced in him, was
proud of him, and soon could not live without
him; yet, though resolved every day to disclose the
whole history of my connection with him, I had it
not in my power: Something always prevented me
till at length I thought no more of it, but resolved
to enjoy his fascinating company in private, and by
all means to keep my own with him. The resolution
was vain: I set a bold face to it, but my powers
were inadequate to the task; my adherent, with all
the suavity imaginable, was sure to carry his point.
I sometimes fumed, and sometimes shed tears at
being obliged to yield to proposals against which I
had at first felt every reasoning power of my soul
rise in opposition; but, for all that, he never failed
in carrying conviction along with him in effect, for
he either forced me to acquiesce in his measures,
and assent to the truth of his positions, or he put
me so completely down, that I had not a word left
to advance against them.
After weeks, and I may say months of intimacy,
I observed, somewhat to my amazement, that we had
never once prayed together; and more than that,
that he had constantly led my attentions away from
that duty, causing me to neglect it wholly. I
thought this a bad mark of a man seemingly so much
set on inculcating certain important points of religion,
and resolved next day to put him to the test,
and request of him to perform that sacred duty in
name of us both. He objected boldly; saying
there were very few people indeed, with whom he
could join in prayer, and he made a point of never
doing it, as he was sure they were to ask many
things of which he disapproved, and that if he
were to officiate himself, he was as certain to allude
to many things that came not within the range of
their faith. He disapproved of prayer altogether,
in the manner it was generally gone about, he said.
Man made it merely a selfish concern, and was constantly
employed asking, asking, for every thing.
Whereas it became all God's creatures to be content
with their lot, and only to kneel before him in
order to thank him for such benefits as he saw meet
to bestow. In short, he argued with such energy
that before we parted I acquiesced, as usual, in his
position, and never mentioned prayer to him any
Having been so frequently seen in his company,
several people happened to mention the circumstance
to my mother and reverend father; but
the same time had all described him differently.
At length, they began to examine me with respect
to the company I kept, as I absented myself
from home day after day. I told them I kept company
only with one young gentleman, whose whole
manner of thinking on religious subjects, I found
so congenial with my own, that I could not live out
of his society. My mother began to lay down some
of her old hackneyed rules of faith, but I turned
from hearing her with disgust; for, after the energy
of my new friend's reasoning, hers appeared so
tame I could not endure it. And I confess with
shame, that my reverend preceptor's religious dissertations
began, about this time, to lose their relish
very much, and by degrees became exceeding
tiresome to my ear. They were so inferior, in
strength and sublimity, to the most common observations
of my young friend, that in drawing a comparison
the former appeared as nothing. He, however,
examined me about many things relating to
my companion, in all of which I satisfied him, save
in one: I could neither tell him who my friend
was, what was his name, nor of whom he was descended;
and I wondered at myself how I had
never once adverted to such a thing, for all the
time we had been intimate.
I inquired the next day what his name was; as
I said I was often at a loss for it, when talking with
him. He replied, that there was no occasion for
any one friend ever naming another, when their
society was held in private, as ours was; for his part
he had never once named me since we first met,
and never intended to do so, unless by my own request.
"But if you cannot converse without naming
me, you may call me Gil for the present,"
added he; "and if I think proper to take another
name at any future period, it shall be with your
"Gil!" said I; "Have you no name but Gil?
Or which of your names is it? Your Christian or
"O, you must have a surname too, must you!"
replied he, "Very well, you may call me Gil-Martin.
It is not my Christian name; but it is a
name which may serve your turn."
"This is very strange!" said I. "Are you
ashamed of your parents, that you refuse to give
your real name?"
"I have no parents save one, whom I do not
acknowledge," said he proudly; "therefore, pray
drop that subject, for it is a disagreeable one. I
am a being of a very peculiar temper, for though I
have servants and subjects more than I can number,
yet, to gratify a certain whim, I have left
them, and retired to this city, and for all the society
it contains, you see I have attached myself
only to you. This is a secret, and I tell it you
only in friendship, therefore pray let it remain one,
and say not another word about the matter."
I assented, and said no more concerning it; for
it instantly struck me that this was no other than
the Czar Peter of Russia, having heard that he
had been travelling through Europe in disguise,
and I cannot say that I had not thenceforward great
and mighty hopes of high preferment, as a defender
and avenger of the oppressed Christian Church
under the influence of this great potentate. He
had hinted as much already, as that it was more honourable,
and of more avail to put down the wicked
with the sword, than try to reform them, and I
thought myself quite justified in supposing that he
intended me for some great employment, that he
had thus selected me for his companion out of all
the rest in Scotland, and even pretended to learn
the great truths of religion from my mouth. From
that time I felt disposed to yield to such a great
prince's suggestions without hesitation.
Nothing ever astonished me so much, as the uncommon
powers with which he seemed invested. In
our walk one day, we met with a Mr. Blanchard,
who was reckoned a worthy, pious divine, but quite
of the moral cast, who joined us; and we three
walked on, and rested together in the fields. My
companion did not seem to like him, but, nevertheless,
regarded him frequently with deep attention,
and there were several times, while he seemed contemplating
him, and trying to find out his thoughts,
that his face became so like Mr. Blanchard's, that
it was impossible to have distinguished the one from
the other. The antipathy between the two was mutual,
and discovered itself quite palpably in a short
time. When my companion the prince was gone,
Mr. Blanchard asked me anent him, and I told
him that he was a stranger in the city, but a very
uncommon and great personage. Mr. Blanchard's
answer to me was as follows: "I never saw any
body I disliked so much in my life, Mr. Robert;
and if it be true that he is a stranger here, which
I doubt, believe me he is come for no good."
"Do you not perceive what mighty powers of
mind he is possessed of?" said I, " and also how
clear and unhesitating he is on some of the most interesting
points of divinity?"
"It is for his great mental faculties that I dread
him," said he. "It is incalculable what evil such a
person as he may do, if so disposed. There is a
sublimity in his ideas, with which there is to me a
mixture of terror; and when he talks of religion,
he does it as one that rather dreads its truths than
reverences them. He, indeed, pretends great strictness
of orthodoxy regarding some of the points of
doctrine embraced by the reformed church; but you
do not seem to perceive, that both you and he are
carrying these points to a dangerous extremity.
Religion is a sublime and glorious thing, the bond
of society on earth, and the connector of humanity
with the Divine nature; but there is nothing so
dangerous to man as the wresting of any of its principles,
or forcing them beyond their due bounds:
this is of all others the readiest way to destruction.
Neither is there any thing so easily done. There
is not an error into which a man can fall, which he
may not press Scripture into his service as proof of
the probity of, and though your boasted theologian
shunned the full discussion of the subject before me,
while you pressed it, I can easily see that both you
and he are carrying your ideas of absolute predestination,
and its concomitant appendages, to an extent
that overthrows all religion and revelation together;
or, at least, jumbles them into a chaos, out of which
human capacity can never select what is good. Believe
me, Mr. Robert, the less you associate with
that illustrious stranger the better, for it appears to
me that your creed and his carries damnation on
the very front of it."
I was rather stunned at this; but I pretended to
smile with disdain, and said, it did not become
youth to control age; and, as I knew our principles
differed fundamentally, it behoved us to drop
the subject. He, however, would not drop it, but
took both my principles and me fearfully to task,
for Blanchard was an eloquent and powerful-minded
old man; and, before we parted, I believe I
promised to drop my new acquaintance, and was
all but resolved to do it.
As well might I have laid my account with shunning
the light of day. He was constant to me as
my shadow, and by degrees he acquired such an
ascendency over me, that I never was happy out of
his company, nor greatly so in it. When I repeated
to him all that Mr. Blanchard had said, his
countenance kindled with indignation and rage;
and then by degrees his eyes sunk inward, his brow
lowered, so that I was awed, and withdrew my eyes
from looking at him. A while afterward, as I was
addressing him, I chanced to look him again in the
face, and the sight of him made me start violently.
He had made himself so like Mr. Blanchard, that
I actually believed I had been addressing that
gentleman, and that I had done so in some absence
of mind that I could not account for. Instead of
being amused at the quandary I was in, he seemed
offended: indeed, he never was truly amused with
any thing. And he then asked me sullenly, if I
conceived such personages as he to have no other
endowments than common mortals
I said I never conceived that princes or potentates
had any greater share of endowments than
other men, and frequently not so much. He shook
his head, and bade me think over the subject again;
and there was an end of it. I certainly felt every
day the more disposed to acknowledge such a superiority
in him, and from all that I could gather, I
had now no doubt that he was Peter of Russia.
Every thing combined to warrant the supposition,
and, of course, I resolved to act in conformity with
the discovery I had made.
For several days the subject of Mr. Blanchard's
doubts and doctrines formed the theme of our discourse.
My friend deprecated them most devoutly;
and then again he would deplore them, and
lament the great evil that such a man might do
among the human race. I joined with him in allowing
the evil in its fullest latitude; and, at length,
after he thought he had fully prepared my nature
for such a trial of its powers and abilities, he proposed
calmly that we two should make away with
Mr. Blanchard. I was so shocked, that my bosom
became as it were a void, and the beatings of my
heart sounded loud and hollow in it; my breath
cut, and my tongue and palate became dry and
speechless. He mocked at my cowardice, and began
a-reasoning on the matter with such powerful
eloquence, that before we parted, I felt fully convinced
that it was my bounden duty to slay Mr.
Blanchard; but my will was far, very far from consenting
to the deed.
I spent the following night without sleep, or
nearly so; and the next morning, by the time the
sun arose, I was again abroad, and in the company
of my illustrious friend. The same subject was resumed,
and again he reasoned to the following
purport: That supposing me placed at the heat
of an army of Christian soldiers, all bent on putting
down the enemies of the church, would I have
any hesitation in destroying and rooting out these
enemies? — None surely. — Well then, when I saw
and was convinced, that here was an individual who
was doing more detriment to the church of Christ
on earth, than tens of thousands of such warriors
were capable of doing, was it not my duty to cut
him off, and save the elect? "He, who would be
a champion in the cause of Christ and his Church,
my brave young friend," added he, "must begin
early, and no man can calculate to what an illustrious
eminence small beginnings may lead.
the man Blanchard is worthy, he is only changing
his situation for a better one; and if unworthy, it
is better that one fall, than that a thousand souls
perish. Let us be up and doing in our vocations.
For me, my resolution is taken; I have but one
great aim in this world, and I never for a moment
lose sight of it."
I was obliged to admit the force of his reasoning;
for though I cannot from memory repeat his
words, his eloquence was of that overpowering nature,
that the subtility of other men sunk before it;
and there is also little doubt that the assurance I
had that these words were spoken by a great potentate,
who could raise me to the highest eminence,
(provided that I entered into his extensive and decisive
measures,) assisted mightily in dispelling
my youthful scruples and qualms of conscience;
and I thought moreover, that having such a powerful
back friend to support me, I hardly needed to
be afraid of the consequences. I consented! But
begged a little time to think of it. He said the
less one thought of a duty the better; and we
But the most singular instance of this wonderful
man's power over my mind was, that he had as complete
influence over me by night as by day. All
my dreams corresponded exactly with his suggestions;
and when he was absent from me, still his
arguments sunk deeper in my heart than even when
he was present. I dreamed that night of a great
triumph obtained, and though the whole scene was
but dimly and confusedly defined in my vision,
yet the overthrow and death of Mr. Blanchard
was the first step by which I attained the eminent
station I occupied. Thus, by dreaming of the event
by night, and discoursing of it by day, it soon became
so familiar to my mind, that I almost conceived
it as done. It was resolved on: which was
the first and greatest victory gained; for there was
no difficulty in finding opportunities enow of cutting
of a man, who, every good day, was to be found
walking by himself in private grounds. I went
and heard him preach for two days, and in fact I
held his tenets scarcely short of blasphemy; they
were such as I had never heard before, and his
congregation, which was numerous, were turning
up their ears and drinking in his doctrines with the
utmost delight; for O, they suited their carnal natures
and self-sufficiency to a hair! He was actually
holding it forth, as a fact, that "it was every
man's own blame if he was not saved!" What
horrible misconstruction! And then he was alleging,
and trying to prove from nature and reason,
that no man ever was guilty of a sinful action,
who might not have declined it had he so chosen!
"Wretched controvertist!" thought I to myself
an hundred times," shall not the sword of the Lord
be moved from its place of peace for such presumtuous
and absurd testimonies as these!"
When I began to tell the prince about these
false doctrines, to my astonishment I found that
he had been in the church himself, and had every
argument that the old divine had used verbatim;
and he remarked on them with great concern, that
these were not the tenets that corresponded with
his views in society, and that he had agents in
every city, and every land, exerting their powers to
put them down. I asked, with great simplicity,
"Are all your subjects Christians, prince?"
"All my European subjects are, or deem themselves
so," returned he; "and they are the most
faithful and true subjects I have."
Who could doubt, after this, that he was the Czar
of Russia? I have nevertheless had reasons to
doubt of his identity since that period, and which
of my conjectures is right, I believe the God of heaven
only knows, for I do not. I shall go on to write
such things as I remember, and if any one shall
ever take the trouble to read over these confessions,
such a one will judge for himself. It will be observed,
that since ever I fell in with this extraordinary
person, I have written about him only, and I
must continue to do so to the end of this memoir,
as I have performed no great or interesting action
in which he had not a principal share.
He came to me one day and said, "We must
not linger thus in executing what we have resolved
on. We have much before our hands to perform for
the benefit of mankind, both civil as well as religious.
Let us do what we have to do here, and then we
must wend our way to other cities, and perhaps to
other countries. Mr. Blanchard is to hold forth
in the high church of Paisley on Sunday next, on
some particularly great occasion: this must be defeated;
he must not go there. As he will be busy
arranging his discourses, we may expect him to be
walking by himself in Finnieston Dell the greater
part of Friday and Saturday. Let us go and cut
him off. What is the life of a man more than the
life of a lamb, or any guiltless animal? It is not
half so much, especially when we consider the immensity
of the mischief this old fellow is working
among our fellow-creatures. Can there be any
doubt that it is the duty of one consecrated to God,
to cut off such a mildew?"
"I fear me, great sovereign," said I, "that your
ideas of retribution are too sanguine, and too arbitrary
for the laws of this country. I dispute not
that your motives are great and high; but have
you debated the consequences, and settled the result?"

"I have," returned he, "and hold myself amenable
for the action, to the laws of God and of
equity; as to the enactments of men I despise them.
Fain would I see the weapon of the Lord of Hosts,
begin the work of vengeance that awaits it to do!"
I could not help thinking, that I perceived a
little derision of countenance on his face as he said
this, nevertheless I sunk dumb before such a man,
and aroused myself to the task, seeing he would
rot have it deferred. I approved of it in theory,
but my spirit stood aloof from the practice. I saw
and was convinced that the elect of God would be
happier, and purer, were the wicked and unbelievers
all cut off from troubling and misleading
them, but if it had not been the instigations of this
illustrious stranger, I should never have presumed
to begin so great a work myself. Yet, though he
often aroused my zeal to the highest pitch, still my
heart at times shrunk from the shedding of life--
blood, and it was only at the earnest and unceasing
instigations of my enlightened and voluntary
patron, that I at length put my hand to the conclusive
work. After I said all that I could say,
and all had been overborne, (I remember my actions
and words as well as it had been yesterday,) I turned
round hesitatingly, and looked up to Heaven for
direction; but there was a dimness came over my
eyes that I could not see. The appearance was
as if their had been a veil drawn over me, so nigh
that I put up my hand to feel it; and then Gil--
Martin (as this great sovereign was pleased to have
himself called,) frowned, and asked me what I was
grasping at? I knew not what to say, but answered,
with fear and shame, "I have no weapons, not
one; nor know I where any are to be found."
"The God whom thou servest will provide
these," said he; "if thou provest worthy of the
trust committed to thee."
I looked again up into the cloudy veil that covered
us, and thought I beheld golden weapons of
every description let down in it, but all with their
points towards me. I kneeled, and was going to
stretch out my hand to take one, when my patron
seized me, as I thought, by the clothes, and dragged
me away with as much ease as I had been a
lamb, saying, with a joyful and elevated voice, —
"Come, my friend, let us depart: thou art dreaming
— thou art dreaming. Rouse up all the energies
of thy exalted mind, for thou art an highly--
favoured one; and doubt thou not, that he whom
thou servest, will be ever at thy right and left hand,
to direct and assist thee."
These words, but particularly the vision I had
seen, of the golden weapons descending out of Heaven,
inflamed my zeal to that height that I was
as one beside himself; which my parents perceived
that night, and made some motions toward confining
me to my room. I joined in the family prayers,
and then I afterwards sung a psalm and prayed
by myself; and I had good reasons for believing
that that small oblation of praise and prayer
was not turned to sin. But there are strange
things, and unaccountable agencies in nature: He
only who dwells between the Cherubim can unriddle
them, and to him the honour must redound
for ever. Amen.
I felt greatly strengthened and encouraged that
night, and the next morning I ran to meet say
companion, out of whose eye I had now no life.
He rejoiced at seeing me so forward in the great
work of reformation by blood, and said many things
to raise my hopes of future fame and glory; and
then, producing two pistols of pure beaten gold,
he held them out and proffered me the choice of
one, saying, "See what thy master hath provided
thee!" I took one of them eagerly, for I perceived
at once that they were two of the very weapons
that were let down from Heaven in the cloudy veil,
the dim tapestry of the firmament; and I said to
myself, "Surely this is the will of the Lord."
The little splendid and enchanting piece was so
perfect, so complete, and so ready for executing
the will of the donor, that I now longed to use it
in his service. I loaded it with my own hand, as
Gil-Martin did the other, and we took our stations
behind a bush of hawthorn and bramble on the verge
of the wood, and almost close to the walk. My patron
was so acute in all his calculations that he
never mistook an event. We had not taken our
stand above a minute and a half, till old Mr. Blanchard
appeared, coming slowly on the path. When
we saw this, we cowered down, and leaned each of us
a knee upon the ground, pointing the pistols
through the bush, with an aim so steady, that it
was impossible to miss our victim.
He came deliberately on, pausing at times so
long, that we dreaded he was going to turn. Gil--
Martin dreaded it, and I said I did, but wished in
my heart that he might. He, however, came onward,
and I will never forget the manner in which
he came! No — I don't believe I ever can forget
it, either in the narrow bounds of time or the ages
of eternity! He was a boardly ill-shaped man, of
a rude exterior, and a little bent with age; his
hands were clasped behind his back, and below
his coat, and he walked with a slow swinging air
that was very peculiar. When he paused and
looked abroad on nature, the act was highly impressive:
he seemed conscious of being all alone,
and conversant only with God and the elements of
his creation. Never was there such a picture of
human inadvertency! a man approaching step by
step to the one that was to hurl him out of one existence
into another, with as much ease and indifference
as the ox goeth to the stall. Hideous vision,
wilt thou not be gone from my mental sight!
If not, let me bear with thee as I can!
When he came straight opposite to the muzzles
of our pieces, Gil-Martin called out "Eh!" with
a short quick sound. The old man, without starting,
turned his face and breast toward us, and looked
into the wood, but looked over our heads.
"Now!" whispered my companion, and fired. But
my hand refused the office, for I was not at that
moment sure about becoming an assassin in the
cause of Christ and his Church. I thought I heard
a sweet voice behind me, whispering me to beware,
and I was going to look round, when my companion
exclaimed, "Coward, we are ruined!"
I had no time for an alternative: Gil-Martin's
ball had not taken effect, which was altogether
wonderful, as the old man's breast was within a few
yards of him. "Hilloa!" cried Blanchard; "what
is that for, you dog!" and with that he came forward
to look over the bush. I hesitated, as I said,
and attempted to look behind me; but there was
no time: the next step discovered two assassins lying
in covert, waiting for blood. "Coward, we are
ruined!" cried my indignant friend; and that moment
my piece was discharged. The effect was as
might have been expected: the old man first stumbled
to one side, and then fell on his back. We
kept our places, and I perceived my companion's
eyes gleaming with an unnatural joy. The wounded
man raised himself from the bank to a sitting
posture, and I beheld his eyes swimming; he, however,
appeared sensible, for we heard him saying in
a low and rattling voice, "Alas, alas! whom have
I offended, that they should have been driven to an
act like this! Come forth and shew yourselves,
that I may either forgive you before I die, or curse
you in the name of the Lord." He then fell a--
groping with both hands on the ground, as if feeling
for something he had lost, manifestly in the
agonies of death; and, with a solemn and interrupted
prayer for forgiveness, he breathed his last.
I had become rigid as a statue, whereas my associate
appeared to be elevated above measure.
"Arise, thou faint-hearted one, and let us be going,"
said he. "Thou hast done well for once; but
wherefore hesitate in such a cause? This is but
a small beginning of so great a work as that of purging
the Christian world. But the first victim is a
worthy one, and more of such lights must be extinguished
We touched not our victim, nor any thing pertaining
to him, for fear of staining our hands with
his blood; and the firing having brought three
men within view, who were hasting towards the
spot, my undaunted companion took both the pistols,
and went forward as with intent to meet them,
bidding me shift for myself. I ran off in a contrary
direction, till I came to the foot of the Pearman
Sike, and then, running up the hollow of that,
I appeared on the top of the bank as if I had been
another man brought in view by hearing the shots
in such a place. I had a full view of a part of
what passed, though not of all. I saw my companion
going straight to meet the men, apparently
with a pistol in every hand, waving in a careless
manner. They seemed not quite clear of meeting
with him, and so he went straight on, and
passed between them. They looked after him,
and came onward; but when they came to the old
man lying stretched in his blood, then they turned
and pursued my companion, though not so
quickly as they might have done; and I understood
that from the first they saw no more of him.
Great was the confusion that day in Glasgow.
The most popular of all their preachers of morality
was (what they called) murdered in cold blood,
and a strict and extensive search was made for the
assassin. Neither of the accomplices was found,
however, that is certain, nor was either of them so
much as suspected; but another man was apprehended
under circumstances that warranted suspicion. —
This was one of the things that I witnessed in
my life, which I never understood, and it surely
was one of my patron's most dexterous tricks, for
I must still say, what I have thought from the beginning,
that like him there never was a man
created. The young man who was taken up was
a preacher; and it was proved that he had purchased
fire arms in town, and gone out with them
that morning. But the far greatest mystery of the
whole was, that two of the men, out of the three
who met my companion, swore, that that unfortunate
preacher was the man whom they met with a
pistol in each hand, fresh from the death of the
old divine. The poor fellow made a confused
speech himself, which there is not the least doubt
was quite true; but it was laughed to scorn, and an
expression of horror ran through both the hearers
and jury. I heard the whole trial, and so did Gil--
Martin; but we left the journeyman preacher to
his fate, and from that time forth I have had no
faith in the justice of criminal trials. If once a
man is prejudiced on one side, he will swear any
thing in support of such prejudice. I tried to expostulate
with my mysterious friend on the horrid
injustice of suffering this young man to die for our
act, but the prince exulted in it more than the
other, and said the latter was the most dangerous
man of the two.
The alarm in and about Glasgow was prodigious.
The country being divided into two political
parties, the court and the country party, the
former held meetings, issued proclamations, and
offered rewards, ascribing all to the violence of party
spirit, and deprecating the infernal measures of
their opponents. I did not understand their political
differences; but it was easy to see that the
true Gospel preachers joined all on one side, and
the upholders of pure morality and a blameless life
on the other, so that this division proved a test to
us, and it was forthwith resolved, that we two should
pick out some of the leading men of this unsaintly
and heterodox cabal, and cut them off one by one,
as occasion should suit.
Now, the ice being broke, I felt considerable zeal
in our great work, but pretended much more; and
we might soon have kidnapped them all through
the ingenuity of my patron, had not our next attempt
miscarried, by some awkwardness or mistake
of mine. The consequence was, that he was discovered
fairly, and very nigh seized. I also was
seen, and suspected so far, that my reverend father,
my mother, and myself were examined privately.
I denied all knowledge of the matter; and they
held it in such a ridiculous light, and their conviction
of the complete groundlessness of the suspicion
was so perfect, that their testimony prevailed,
and the affair was hushed. I was obliged,
however, to walk circumspectly, and saw my companion
the prince very seldom, who was prowling
about every day, quite unconcerned about his
safety. He was every day a new man, however,
and needed not to be alarmed at any danger; for
such a facility had he in disguising himself, that if
it had not been for a pass-word which we had between
us, for the purposes of recognition, I never
could have known him myself.
It so happened that my reverend father was called
to Edinburgh about this time, to assist with
his council in settling the national affairs. At my
earnest request I was permitted to accompany him,
at which both my associate and I rejoiced, as we
were now about to move in a new and extensive
field. All this time I never knew where my illustrious
friend resided. He never once invited me
to call on him at his lodgings, nor did he ever
come to our house, which made me sometimes to
suspect, that if any of our great efforts in the cause
of true religion were discovered, he intended leaving
me in the lurch. Consequently, when we met
in Edinburgh (for we travelled not in company)
I proposed to go with him to look for lodgings,
telling him at the same time what a blessed religious
family my reverend instructor and I were settled
in. He said he rejoiced at it, but he made a
rule of never lodging in any particular house, but
took these daily, or hourly, as he found it convenient,
and that he never was at a loss in any circumstance.
"What a mighty trouble you put yourself to,
great sovereign!" said I, "and all, it would appear,
for the purpose of seeing and knowing more
and more of the human race."
"I never go but where I have some great purpose
to serve,' returned he, "either in the advancement
of my own power and dominion, or in
thwarting my enemies."
"With all due deference to your great comprehension,
my illustrious friend," said I, "it
strikes me that you can accomplish very little
either the one way or the other here, in the humble
and private capacity you are pleased to occupy."
"It is your own innate modesty that prompts
such a remark," said he. "Do you think the gaining
of you to my service, is not an attainment worthy
of being envied by the greatest potentate in
Christendom? Before I had missed such a prize
as the attainment of your services, I would have
travelled over one half of the habitable globe." —
I bowed with great humility, but at the same time
how could I but feel proud and highly flattered?
He continued. "Believe me, my dear friend, for
such a prize I account no effort too high. For a
man who is not only dedicated to the King of Heaven,
in the most solemn manner, soul, body, and
spirit, but also chosen of him from the beginning,
justified, sanctified, and received into a communion
that never shall be broken, and from which no act
of his shall ever remove him, — the possession
of such a man, I tell you, is worth kingdoms; because
every deed that he performs, he does it with
perfect safety to himself and honour to me." —
bowed again, lifting my hat, and he went on. — "I
am now going to put his courage in the cause he
has espoused, to a severe test — to a trial at which
common nature would revolt, but he who is dedicated
to be the sword of the Lord, must raise himself
above common humanity. You have a father
and a brother according to the flesh, what do you
know of them?"
"I am sorry to say I know nothing good," said
I. "They are reprobates, castaways, beings devoted
to the wicked one, and, like him, workers of
every species of iniquity with greediness."
"They must both fall!" said he, with a sigh
and melancholy look: "It is decreed in the councils
above, that they must both fall by your hand."
"The God of heaven forbid it!" said I. "They
are enemies to Christ and his church, that I know
and believe; but they shall live and die in their
iniquity for me, and reap their guerdon when their
time cometh. There my hand shall not strike."
"The feeling is natural, and amiable," said he;
"but you must think again. Whether are the
bonds of carnal nature, or the bonds and vows of
the Lord, strongest?"
"I will not reason with you on this head,
mighty potentate," said I, "for whenever I do so
it is but to be put down. I shall only express my
determination, not to take vengeance out of the
Lord's hand in this instance. It availeth not.
These are men that have the mark of the beast in
their foreheads and right hands; they are lost
beings themselves, but have no influence over
others. Let them perish in their sins; for they
shall not be meddled with by me."
"How preposterously you talk, my dear friend!"
said he. "These people are your greatest enemies;
they would rejoice to see you annihilated.
And now that you have taken up the Lord's cause
of being avenged on his enemies, wherefore spare
those that are your own as well as his? Besides,
you ought to consider what great advantages would
be derived to the cause of righteousness and truth,
were the estate and riches of that opulent house in
your possession, rather than in that of such as oppose
the truth and all manner of holiness."
This was a portion of the consequence of following
my illustrious adviser's summary mode of
procedure, that had never entered into my calculation
— I disclaimed all idea of being influence
by it; however, I cannot but say that the desire of
being enabled to do so much good, by the possesion
of these bad men's riches, made some impression
on my heart, and I said I would consider of
the matter. I did consider it, and that right seriously
as well as frequently; and there was scarcely
an hour in the day on which my resolves were not
animated by my great friend, till at length I began
to have a longing desire to kill my brother, in
particular. Should any man ever read this scroll
he will wonder at this confession, and deem it savage
and unnatural. So it appeared to me at first,
but a constant thinking of an event changes ever
one of its features. I have done all for the best
and as I was prompted, by one who knew right and
wrong much better than I did. I had a desire to
slay him, it is true, and such a desire too as a thirsty
man has to drink; but at the same time, this
longing desire was mingled with a certain terror
as if I had dreaded that the drink for which I longed
was mixed with deadly poison. My mind was
so much weakened, or rather softened about this
time, that my faith began a little to give way, and
I doubted most presumptuously of the least tangible
of all Christian tenets, namely, of the infallibility
of the elect. I hardly comprehended the great
work I had begun, and doubted of my own infallibility,
or that of any created being. But I was
brought over again by the unwearied diligence of
my friend to repent of my backsliding, and view
once more the superiority of the Almighty's counsels
in its fullest latitude. Amen.
I prayed very much in secret about this time, and
that with great fervor of spirit, as well as humility;
and my satisfaction at finding all my requests granted
is not to be expressed.
My illustrious friend still continuing to sound in
my ears the imperious duty to which I was called,
of making away with my sinful relations, and quoting
many parallel actions out of the Scriptures,
and the writings of the holy Fathers, of the pleasure
the Lord took in such as executed his vengeance
on the wicked, I was obliged to acquiesce in his measures,
though with certain limitations. It was not
easy to answer his arguments, and yet I was afraid
that he soon perceived a leaning to his will on my
part. "If the acts of Jehu, in rooting out the
whole house of his master, were ordered and approved
of by the Lord," said he, "would it not have
been more praiseworthy if one of Ahab's own sons
had stood up for the cause of the God of Israel
and rooted out the sinners and their idols out of the
"It would certainly," said I. "To our duty
to God all other duties must yield."
"Go thou then and do likewise," said he. "Thou
art called to a high vocation; to cleanse the sanctuary
of thy God in this thy native land by the
shedding of blood; go thou forth then like a ruling
energy, a master spirit of desolation in the dwellings
of the wicked, and high shall be your reward
both here and hereafter."
My heart now panted with eagerness to look my
brother in the face: On which my companion, who
was never out of the way, conducted me to a small
square in the suburbs of the city, where there were
a number of young noblemen and gentlemen playing
at a vain, idle, and sinful game, at which there
was much of the language of the accursed going
on; and among these blasphemers he instantly
pointed out my brother to me. I was fired with
indignation at seeing him in such company, and so
employed; and I placed myself close beside him
to watch all his motions, listen to his words, and
draw inferences from what I saw and heard. In
what a sink of sin was he wallowing! I resolved to
take him to task, and if he refused to be admonished,
to inflict on him some condign punishment; and
knowing that my illustrious friend and director
was looking on, I resolved to show some spirit.
Accordingly, I waited until I heard him profane
his Maker's name three times, and then, my spiritual
indignation being roused above all restraint, I
went up and kicked him. Yes, I went boldly up and
struck him with my foot, and meant to have given
him a more severe blow than it was my fortune to
inflict. It had, however, the effect of rousing up
his corrupt nature to quarrelling and strife, instead
of taking the chastisement of the Lord in humility
and meekness. He ran furiously against me in the
choler that is always inspired by the wicked one;
but I overthrew him, by reason of impeding the
natural and rapid progress of his unholy feet, running
to destruction. I also fell slightly; but his
fall proving a severe one, he arose in wrath, and
struck me with the mall which he held in his hand,
until my blood flowed copiously; and from that
moment I vowed his destruction in my heart. But
I chanced to have no weapon at that time, nor any
means of inflicting due punishment on the caitiff,
which would not have been returned double on my
head, by him and his graceless associates. I mixed
among them at the suggestion of my friend,
and following them to their den of voluptuousness
and sin, I strove to be admitted among them, in
hopes of finding some means of accomplishing my
great purpose, while I found myself moved by the
spirit within me so to do. But I was not only debarred,
but, by the machinations of my wicked brother
and his associates, cast into prison.
I was not sorry at being thus honoured to suffer
in the cause of righteousness, and at the hands of
sinful men; and as soon as I was alone, I betook
myself to prayer, deprecating the long-suffering of
God toward such horrid sinners. My jailer came
to me, and insulted me. He was a rude unprincipled
fellow, partaking much of the loose and
carnal manners of the age; but I remembered of
having read, in the Cloud of Witnesses, of such
men formerly, having been converted by the imprisoned
saints; so I set myself, with all my heart,
to bring about this man's repentance and reformation.

"Fat the deil are ye yoolling an' praying that
gate for, man?" said he, coming angrily in. "I
thought the days o' praying prisoners had been a'
ower. We had rowth o' them aince; an' they
were the poorest an' the blackest bargains that ever
poor jailers saw. Gie up your crooning, or I'll pit
you to an in-by place, where ye sall get plenty o't."
"Friend," said I, "I am making my appeal at
that bar where all human actions are seen and judged,
and where you shall not be forgot, sinful as
you are. Go in peace, and let me be."
"Hae ye naebody nearer-hand hame to mak
your appeal to, man?" said he; "because an ye haena,
I dread you an' me may be unco weel acquaintit
by an' by?"
I then opened up the mysteries of religion to
him in a clear and perspicuous manner, but particularly
the great doctrine of the election of grace;
and then I added, "Now, friend, you must tell me
if you pertain to this chosen number. It is in
every man's power to ascertain this, and it is every
man's duty to do it."
"An' fat the better wad you be for the kenning
o' this, man?" said he.
"Because, if you are one of my brethren, I will
take you into sweet communion and fellowship,
returned I; "but if you belong to the unregenerate,
I have a commission to slay you."
"The deil you hae, callant!" said he, gapin
and laughing. "An' pray now, fa was it the
gae you siccan a braw commission?"
"My commission is sealed by the signet
above," said I, "and that I will let you and all
sinners know. I am dedicated to it by the most
solemn vows and engagements. I am the sword of
the Lord, and Famine and Pestilence are my sisters.
Wo then to the wicked of this land, for they
must fall down dead together, that the church may
be purified!"
"Oo, foo, foo! I see how it is," said he; "yours
is a very braw commission, but you will have the
small opportunity of carrying it through here.
Take my advising, and write a bit of a letter to
your friends, and I will send it, for this is no place
for such a great man. If you cannot steady your
hand to write, as I see you have been at your great
work, a word of a mouth may do; for I do assure
you this is not the place at all, of any in the world,
for your operations."
The man apparently thought I was deranged in
my intellect. He could not swallow such great
truths at the first morsel. So I took his advice,
and sent a line to my reverend father, who was not
long in coming, and great was the jailer's wonderment
when he saw all the great Christian noblemen
of the land sign my bond of freedom.
My reverend father took this matter greatly to
heart, and bestirred himself in the good cause till
the transgressors were ashamed to shew their faces.
My illustrious companion was not idle: I wondered
that he came not to me in prison, nor at my
release; but he was better employed, in stirring up
the just to the execution of God's decrees; and he
succeeded so well, that my brother and all his associates
had nearly fallen victims to their wrath:
But many were wounded, bruised, and imprisoned,
and much commotion prevailed in the city. For
my part, I was greatly strengthened in my resolution
by the anathemas of my reverend father, who,
privately, (that is in a family capacity,) in his prayers,
gave up my father and brother, according to the
flesh, to Satan, making it plain to all my senses of
perception, that they were beings given up of God,
to be devoured by fiends or men, at their will and
pleasure, and that whosoever should slay them
would do God good service.
The next morning my illustrious friend met me
at an early hour, and he was greatly overjoyed
hearing my sentiments now chime so much in unison
with his own. I said, "I longed for the day
and the hour that I might look my brother in the
face at Gilgal, and visit on him the iniquity of his
father and himself, for that I was now strengthened
and prepared for the deed."
"I have been watching the steps and movements
of the profligate one," said he; "and lo, I will take
you straight to his presence. Let your heart be
the heart of the lion, and your arms strong as the
shekels of brass, and swift to avenge as the bolt
that descendeth from Heaven, for the blood of the
just and the good hath long flowed in Scotland. But
already is the day of their avengement begun; the
hero is at length arisen, who shall send all such as
bear enmity to the true church, or trust in works
of their own, to Tophet!"
Thus encouraged, I followed my friend, who led
me directly to the same court in which I had chastised
the miscreant on the foregoing day; and behold,
there was the same group again assembled.
They eyed me with terror in their looks, as I walked
among them and eyed them with looks of disapprobation
and rebuke; and I saw that the very
eye of a chosen one lifted on these children of Belial,
was sufficient to dismay and put them to flight.
I walked aside to my friend, who stood at a distance
looking on, and he said to me, "What thinkest
thou now?" and I answered in the words of the
venal prophet, "Lo now, if I had a sword into
mine hand, I would even kill him."
"Wherefore lackest thou it?" said he. "Dost
thou not see that they tremble at thy presence,
knowing that the avenger of blood is among them."
My heart was lifted up on hearing this, and
again I strode into the midst of them, and eyeing
them with threatening looks, they were so much
confounded, that they abandoned their sinful pastime,
and fled every one to his house!
This was a palpable victory gained over the
wicked, and I thereby knew that the hand of the
Lord was with me. My companion also exulted,
and said, "Did not I tell thee? Behold thou
dost not not know one half of thy might, or of the
great things thou art destined to do. Come with
me and I will show thee more than this, for these
young men cannot subsist without the exercises of
sin. I listened to their councils, and I know where
they will meet again."
Accordingly he led me a little farther to the
south, and we walked aside till by degrees we saw
some people begin to assemble; and in a short
time we perceived the same group stripping off
their clothes to make them more expert in the practice
of madness and folly. Their game was begun
before we approached, and so also were the oaths
and cursing. I put my hands in my pockets, and
walked with dignity and energy into the midst of
them. It was enough: Terror and astonishment
seized them. A few of them cried out against me,
but their voices were soon hushed amid the murmurs
of fear. One of them, in the name of the
rest, then came and besought of me to grant them
liberty to amuse themselves; but I refused peremptorily,
dared the whole multitude so much as to
touch me with one of their fingers, and dismissed
them in the name of the Lord.
Again they all fled and dispersed at my eye, and
I went home in triumph, escorted by my friend,
and some well-meaning young Christians, who, however,
had not learned to deport themselves with soberness
and humility. But my ascendency over
my enemies was great indeed; for wherever I appeared
I was hailed with approbation, and whereever
my guilty brother made his appearance, he was
hooted and held in derision, till he was forced to
hide his disgraceful head, and appear no more in
Immediately after this I was seized with a strange
distemper, which neither my friends nor physicians
could comprehend, and it confined me to my chamber
for many days; but I knew, myself, that I was
bewitched, and suspected my father's reputed concubine
of the deed. I told my fears to my reverend
protector, who hesitated concerning them, but
I knew by his words and looks that he was conscious
I was right. I generally conceived myself
to be two people. When I lay in bed, I deemed
there were two of us in it; when I sat up, I always
beheld another person, and always in the same position
from the place where I sat or stood, which
was about three paces off me towards my left side.
It mattered not bow many or how few were present:
this my second self was sure to be present
in his place; and this occasioned a confusion in all
my words and ideas that utterly astounded my
friends, who all declared, that instead of being deranged
in my intellect, they had never heard my
conversation manifest so much energy or sublimity
of conception; but for all that, over the singular
delusion that I was two persons, my reasoning faculties
had no power. The most perverse part of
it was, that I rarely conceived myself to be any of
the two persons. I thought for the most part that
my companion was one of them, and my brother the
other; and I found, that to be obliged to speak
and answer in the character of another man, was a
most awkward business at the long run.
Who can doubt, from this statement, that I was
bewitched, and that my relatives were at the ground
of it? The constant and unnatural persuasion that
I was my brother, proved it to my own satisfaction,
and must, I think, do so to every unprejudiced
person. This victory of the wicked one over me
kept me confined in my chamber, at Mr. Millar's
house, for nearly a month, until the prayers of the
faithful prevailed, and I was restored. I knew it
was a chastisement for my pride, because my heart
was lifted up at my superiority over the enemies
of the church; nevertheless, I determined to make
short work with the aggressor, that the righteous
might not be subjected to the effect of his diabolical
arts again.
I say I was confined a month. I beg he that
readeth to take note of this, that he may estimate
how much the word, or even the oath, of a wicked
man, is to depend on. For a month I saw no one
but such as came into my room, and for all that,
it will be seen, that there were plenty of the same
set to attest upon oath that I saw my brother every
day during that period; that I persecuted him with
my presence day and night, while all the time I
never saw his face, save in a delusive dream. I
cannot comprehend what manœuvres my illustrious
friend was playing off with them about this time;
for he, having the art of personating whom he
chose, had peradventure deceived them, else so many
of them had never all attested the same thing.
I never saw any man so steady in his friendships
and attentions as he; but as he made a rule of
never calling at private houses, for fear of some
discovery being made of his person, so I never saw
him while my malady lasted; but as soon as I grew
better, I knew I had nothing ado but to attend at
some of our places of meeting, to see him again.
He was punctual, as usual, and I had not to wait.
My reception was precisely as I apprehended.
There was no flaring, no flummery, nor bombastical
pretensions, but a dignified return to my obeisance
and an immediate recurrence, in converse, to the
important duties incumbent on us, in our stations
as reformers and purifiers of the Church.
"I have marked out a number of most dangerous
characters in this city," said he, "all of whom
must be cut off from cumbering the true vineyard
before we leave this land. And if you bestir not
yourself in the work to which you are called, I must
raise up others who shall have the honour of it."
"I am, most illustrious prince, wholly at your
service," said I. "Show but what ought to be
done, and here is the heart to dare, and the hand
to execute. You pointed out my relations, according
to the flesh, as brands fitted to be thrown into
the burning. I approve peremptorily of the award;
nay, I thirst to accomplish it; for I myself have
suffered severely from their diabolical arts. When
once that trial of my devotion to the faith is accomplished,
then be your future operations disclosed."

"You are free of your words and promises,"
said he.
"So will I be of my deeds in the service of my
master, and that shalt thou see," said I. "I lack
not the spirit, nor the will, but I lack experience
wofully; and because of that shortcoming, must
bow to your suggestions."
"Meet me here to-morrow betimes," said he,
"and perhaps you may hear of some opportunity
of displaying your zeal in the cause of righteousness."

I met him as he desired me; and he addressed
me with a hurried and joyful expression, telling me
that my brother was astir, and that a few minutes
ago he had seen him pass on his way to the mountain.
"The hill is wrapped in a cloud," added
he, "and never was there such an opportunity of
executing divine justice on a guilty sinner. You
may trace him in the dew, and shall infallibly find
him on the top of some precipice; for it is only
in secret that he dares show his debased head to
the sun."
"I have no arms, else assuredly I would pursue
him and discomfit him," said I.
"Here is a small dagger," said he; "I have
nothing of weapon-kind about me save that, but it
is a potent one; and should you require it, there is
nothing more ready or sure."
"Will not you accompany me?" said I: "Surely
you will?"
"I will be with you, or near you," said he. "Go
you on before."
I hurried away as he directed me, and imprudently
asked some of Queensberry's guards if such
and such a young man passed by them going out
from the city. I was answered in the affirmative.
and till then had doubted of my friend's intelligence,
it was so inconsistent with a profligate's life
to be so early astir. When I got the certain intelligence
that my brother was before me, I fell a--
running, scarcely knowing what I did; and looking
several times behind me, I perceived nothing
of my zealous and arbitrary friend. The consequence
of this was, that by the time I reached St.
Anthony's well, my resolution began to give way.
It was not my courage, for now that I had once
shed blood in the cause of the true faith, I was exceedingly
bold and, ardent; but whenever I was
left to myself, I was subject to sinful doubtings.
These always hankered on one point: I doubted
if the elect were infallible, and if the Scripture promises
to them were binding in all situations and
relations. I confess this, and that it was a sinful
and shameful weakness in me, but my nature was
subject to it, and I could not eschew it. I never
doubted that I was one of the elect myself; for,
besides the strong inward and spiritual conviction
that I possessed, I had my kind father's assurance;
and these had been revealed to him in that way
and measure that they could not be doubted.
In this desponding state, I sat myself down on a
stone, and bethought me of the rashness of my understanding.
I tried to ascertain, to my own satisfaction,
whether or not I really had been commissioned
of God to perpetrate these crimes in his behalf,
for in the eyes, and by the laws of men, they were
great and crying transgressions. While I sat pondering
on these things, I was involved in a veil of
white misty vapour, and looking up to heaven, I
was just about to ask direction from above, when I
heard as it were a still small voice close by me,
which uttered some words of derision and chiding.
I looked intensely in the direction whence it seemed
to come, and perceived a lady, robed in white,
who hasted toward me. She regarded me with a
severity of look and gesture that appalled me
much, I could not address her; but she waited not
for that, but coming close to my side, said, without
stopping, "Preposterous wretch! how dare you lift
your eyes to heaven with such purposes in your
heart? Escape homeward, and save your soul, or
farewell for ever!"
These were all the words that she uttered, as far
as I could ever recollect, but my spirits were kept
in such a tumult that morning, that something
might have escaped me. I followed her eagerly
with my eyes, but in a moment she glided over the
rocks above the holy well, and vanished. I persuaded
myself that I had seen a vision, and that
the radiant being that had addressed me was one
of the good angels, or guardian spirits, commissioned
by the Almighty to watch over the steps of the
just. My first impulse was to follow her advice,
and make my escape home; for I thought to myself,
"How is this interested and mysterious foreigner,
a proper judge of the actions of a free
The thought was hardly framed, nor had I moved
in a retrograde direction six steps, when I saw
my illustrious friend and great adviser descending
the ridge towards me with hasty and impassioned
strides. My heart fainted within me; and when
he came up and addressed me, I looked as one
caught in trespass. "What hath detained thee,
thou desponding trifler?" said he. "Verily now
shall the golden opportunity be lost which may
never be recalled. I have traced the reprobate to
his sanctuary in the cloud, and lo he is perched on
the pinnacle of a precipice an hundred fathoms
high. One ketch with thy foot, or toss with thy
finger, shall throw him from thy sight into the foldings
of the cloud, and he shall be no more seen,
till found at the bottom of the cliff dashed to pieces.
Make haste therefore, thou loiterer, if thou wouldst
ever prosper and rise to eminence in the work of
thy Lord and master."
"I go no farther on this work," said I, "for I
have seen a vision that has reprimanded the deed."
"A vision?" said he: "Was it that wench who
descended from the hill?"
"The being that spake to me, and warned me
of my danger, was indeed in the form of a lady,"
said I.
"She also approached me and said a few words,"
returned he; "and I thought there was something
mysterious in her manner. Pray, what did she
say? for the words of such a singular message
and from such a messenger, ought to be attended
to. If I understood her aright, she was chiding
for our misbelief and preposterous delay."
I recited her words, but he answered that I had
been in a state of sinful doubting at the time, and
it was to these doubtings she had adverted.In
short, this wonderful and clear-sighted stranger
soon banished all my doubts and despondency,
making me utterly ashamed of them, and again I
set out with him in the pursuit of my brother. He
showed me the traces of his footsteps in the dew,
and pointed out the spot where I should find him.
"You have nothing more to do than go softly
down behind him," said he; "which you can do
within an ell of him, without being seen; then rush
upon him, and throw him from his seat, where
there is neither footing nor hold. I will go, meanwhile,
and amuse his sight by some exhibition in
the contrary direction, and he shall neither know
nor perceive who has done him this kind office:
for, exclusive of more weighty concerns, be assured
of this, that the sooner he falls, the fewer crimes
will he have to answer for, and his estate in the
other world will be proportionally more tolerable,
than if he spent a long unregenerate life steeped
in iniquity to the loathing of the soul."
"Nothing can be more plain or more pertinent,"
said I: "therefore I fly to perform that which is
both a duty toward God and toward man!"
"You shall yet rise to great honour and preferment,"
said he.
"I value it not, provided I do honour and justice
to the cause of my master here," said I.
"You shall be lord of your father's riches and
demesnes," added he.
"I disclaim and deride every selfish motive
thereto relating," said I, "farther than as it enables
me to do good."
"Ay, but that is a great and a heavenly consideration,
that longing for ability to do good," said
he; — and as he said so, I could not help remarking
a certain derisive exultation of expression which I
could not comprehend; and indeed I have noted
this very often in my illustrious friend, and sometimes
mentioned it civilly to him, but he has never
failed to disclaim it. On this occasion I said nothing,
but concealing his poniard in my clothes, I
hasted up the mountain, determined to execute my
purpose before any misgivings should again visit
me; and I never had more ado, than in keeping
firm my resolution. I could not help my thoughts,
and there are certain trains and classes of thoughts
that have great power in enervating the mind.
thought of the awful thing of plunging a fellow
creature from the top of a cliff into the dark
misty void below — of his being dashed to pieces
on the protruding rocks, and of hearing his shrieks
as he descended the cloud, and beheld the shagged
points on which he was to alight. Then I
thought of plunging a soul so abruptly into hell,
or, at the best, sending it to hover on the confines
of that burning abyss — of its appearance at the bar
of the Almighty to receive its sentence. And then
I thought, "Will there not be a sentence pronounced
against me there, by a jury of the just made perfect,
and written down in the registers of heaven.
These thoughts, I say, came upon me unasked,
and instead of being able to dispel them, they mustered,
upon the summit of my imagination, in thicker
and stronger array: and there was another that impressed
me in a very particular manner, though, I
have reason to believe, not so strongly as those
above written. It was this: "What if I should
fail in my first effort? Will the consequence not
be that I am tumbled from the top of the rock myself?"
and then all the feelings anticipated, with regard
to both body and soul, must happen to me!
This was a spine-breaking reflection; and yet,
though the probability was rather on that side, my
zeal in the cause of godliness was such that it carried
me on, maugre all danger and dismay.
I soon came close upon my brother, sitting on
the dizzy pinnacle, with his eyes fixed stedfastly in
the direction opposite to me. I descended the little
green ravine behind him with my feet foremost,
and every now and then raised my head, and watched
his motions. His posture continued the same,
until at last I came so near him I could have heard
him breathe, if his face had been towards me. I laid
my cap aside, and made me ready to spring upon
him, and push him over. I could not for my life
accomplish it! I do not think it was that I durst
not, for I have always felt my courage equal to any
thing in a good cause. But I had not the heart,
or something that I ought to have had. In short,
it was not done in time, as it easily might have
been. These THOUGHTS are hard enemies wherewith
to combat! And I was so grieved that I could
not effect my righteous purpose, that I laid me
down on my face and shed tears. Then, again, I
thought of what my great enlightened friend and
patron would say to me, and again my resolution
rose indignant, and indissoluble save by blood. I
arose on my right knee and left foot, and had just
begun to advance the latter forward: the next
step my great purpose had been accomplished, and
the culprit had suffered the punishment due to
his crimes. But what moved him I knew not: in
the critical moment he sprung to his feet, and dashing
himself furiously against me, he overthrew me
at the imminent peril of my life. I disencumbered
myself by main force, and fled, but he overhied
me, knocked me down, and threatened, with
dreadful oaths, to throw me from the cliff After
I was a little recovered from the stunning blow, I
aroused myself to the combat; and though I do
not recollect the circumstances of that deadly scuffle
very minutely, I know that I vanquished him so
far as to force him to ask my pardon, and crave a
reconciliation. I spurned at both, and left him to
the chastisements of his own wicked and corrupt
My friend met me again on the hill, and derided
me, in a haughty and stern manner, for my imbecility
and want of decision. I told him how nearly
I had effected my purpose, and excused myself as
well as I was able. On this, seeing me bleeding,
he advised me to swear the peace against my brother,
and have him punished in the mean time, he
being the first aggressor. I promised compliance,
and we parted, for I was somewhat ashamed of my
failure, and was glad to be quit for the present of
one of whom I stood so much in awe.
When my reverend father beheld me bleeding a second
time by the hand of a brother, he was moved
to the highest point of displeasure; and, relying
on his high interest and the justice of his cause,
he brought the matter at once before the courts.
My brother and I were first examined face to face.
His declaration was a mere romance: mine was
not the truth; but as it was by the advice of my
reverend father, and that of my illustrious friend,
both of whom I knew to be sincere Christians and
true believers, that I gave it, I conceived myself
completly justified on that score. I said, I had gone
up into the mountain early on the morning to pray,
and had withdrawn myself, for entire privacy, into
a little sequestered dell — had laid aside my cap,
and was in the act of kneeling, when I was rudely
attacked by my brother, knocked over, and nearly
slain. They asked my brother if this was true.
He acknowledged that it was; that I was bare-headed,
and in the act of kneeling when he ran foul of
me without any intent of doing so. But the judge
took him to task on the improbability of this, and
put the profligate sore out of countenance. The
rest of his tale told still worse, insomuch that he
was laughed at by all present, for the judge remarked
to him, that granting it was true that I
had at first run against me on an open mountain,
and overthrown me by accident, how was it, that
after I had extricated myself and fled, that he had
pursued, overtaken, and knocked me down a second
time? Would he pretend that all that was likewise
by chance? The culprit had nothing to
say for himself on this head, and I shall not forget
my exultation and that of my reverend father, when
the sentence of the judge was delivered. It was
that my wicked brother should be thrown into prison,
and tried on a criminal charge of assault and
battery, with the intent of committing murder. This
was a just and righteous judge, and saw things
in their proper bearings, that is, he could discern
between a righteous and a wicked man, and then
there could be no doubt as to which of the two were
acting right, and which wrong.
Had I not been sensible that a justified person
could do nothing wrong, I should not have been
at my ease concerning the statement I had been
induced to give on this occasion. I could easily
perceive, that by rooting out the weeds from the garden
of the Church, I heightened the growth of
righteousness; but as to the tardy way of giving false
evidence on matters of such doubtful issue, I confess
I saw no great propriety in it from the beginning.
But I now only moved by the will and mandate
of my illustrious friend: I had no peace or comfort
when out of his sight, nor have I ever been
able to boast of much in his presence; so true is it
that a Christian's life is one of suffering.
My time was now much occupied, along with my
reverend preceptor, in making ready for the approaching
trial, as the prosecutors. Our counsel assured
us of a complete victory, and that banishment
would be the mildest award of the law on the
offender. Mark how different was the result! From
the shifts and ambiguities of a wicked Bench, who
had a fellow-feeling of iniquity with the defenders,
— my suit was cast, the graceless libertine was absolved,
and I was incarcerated, and bound over to
keep the peace, with heavy penalties, before I was
set at liberty.
I was exceedingly disgusted at this issue, and
blamed the counsel of my friend to his face. He
expressed great grief, and expatiated on the wickedness
of our judicatories, adding, "I see I cannot
depend on you for quick and summary measures,
but for your sake I shall be revenged on that wicked
judge, and that you shall see in a few days."
The Lord Justice Clerk died that same week! But
he died in his own house and his own bed, and by
what means my friend effected it, I do not know.
He would not tell me a single word of the matter
but the judge's sudden death made a great noise
and I made so many curious inquiries regarding
the particulars of it, that some suspicions were
like to attach to our family, of some unfair means
used. For my part I know nothing, and rather
think he died by the visitation of Heaven, and that
my friend had foreseen it, by symptoms, and soothed
me by promises of complete revenge.
It was some days before he mentioned my brother's
meditated death to me again, and certainly
he then found me exasperated against him personally
to the highest degree. But I told him that I
could not now think any more of it, owing to the
late judgment of the court, by which, if my brother
were missing or found dead, I would not only forfeit
my life, but my friends would be ruined by the
"I suppose you know and believe in the perfect
safety of your soul," said he, "and that that is a
matter settled from the beginning of time, and now
sealed and ratified both in heaven and earth?"
"I believe in it thoroughly and perfectly," said
I; "and whenever I entertain doubts of it, I am
sensible of sin and weakness."
"Very well, so then am I," said he. "I think
I can now divine, with all manner of certainty, what
will be the high and merited guerdon of your immortal
part. Hear me then farther: I give you my
solemn assurance, and bond of blood, that no human
hand shall ever henceforth be able to injure
your life, or shed one drop of your precious blood,
but it is on the condition that you walk always by
my directions."
"I will do so with cheerfulness," said I; "for
without your enlightened counsel, I feel that I can
do nothing. But as to your power of protecting
my life, you must excuse me for doubting of it.
Nay, were we in your own proper dominions, you
could not ensure that."
"In whatever dominion or land I am, my
power accompanies me," said he; "and it is only
against human might and human weapon that I
ensure your life; on that will I keep an eye, and on
that you may depend. I have never broken word of
promise with you. Do you credit me?"
"Yes, I do," said I; "for I see you are in
earnest. I believe, though I do not comprehend
"Then why do you not at once challenge your
brother to the field of honour? Seeing you now act
without danger, cannot you also act without fear?"
"It is not fear," returned I; "believe me, I
hardly know what fear is. It is a doubt, that on all
these emergencies constantly haunts my mind, that
in performing such and such actions I may fall
from my upright state. This makes fratricide a
fearful task."
"This is imbecility itself," said he. "We have
settled, and agreed on that point an hundred times.
I would therefore advise that you challenge your
brother to single combat. I shall ensure your safety,
and he cannot refuse giving you satisfaction."
"But then the penalties?" said I.
"We will try to evade these," said he; "and
supposing you should be caught, if once you are
Laird of Dalcastle and Balgrennan, what are the
penalties to you?"
"Might we not rather pop him off in private
and quietness, as we did the deistical divine?"
said I.
"The deed would be alike meritorious, either
way," said he. "But may we not wait for years
before we find an opportunity? My advice is to
challenge him, as privately as you will, and there
cut him off."
"So be it then," said I. "When the moon is
at the full, I will send for him forth to speak with
one, and there will I smite him and slay him, and
he shall trouble the righteous no more."
"Then this is the very night," said he. "The
moon is nigh to the full, and this night your brother
and his sinful mates hold carousal; for there
is an intended journey to-morrow. The exulting
profligate leaves town, where we must remain till
the time of my departure hence; and then is I he
safe, and must live to dishonour God, and not only
destroy his own soul, but those of many others.
Alack, and wo is me! The sins that he and his
friends will commit this very night, will cry to heaven
against us for our shameful delay! When shall
our great work of cleansing the sanctuary be finished,
if we proceed at this puny rate?"
"I see the deed must be done, then," said I
"and since it is so, it shall be done. I will arm
myself forthwith, and from the midst of his wine
and debauchery you shall call him forth to me, and
there will I smite him with the edge of the sword,
that our great work be not retarded."
"If thy execution were equal to thy intent, how
great a man you soon might be!" said he. "We
shall make the attempt once more; and if it fail
again, why, I must use other means to bring about
my high purposes relating to mankind. — Home and
make ready. I will go and procure what information
I can regarding their motions, and will meet
you in disguise twenty minutes hence, at the first
turn of Hewie's lane beyond the loch."
"I have nothing to make ready," said I; "for
I do not choose to go home. Bring me a sword,
that we may consecrate it with prayer and vows,
and if I use it not to the bringing down of the
wicked and profane, then may the Lord do so to
me, and more also!"
We parted, and there was I left again to the
multiplicity of my own thoughts for the space of
twenty minutes, a thing my friend never failed in
subjecting me to, and these were worse to contend
with than hosts of sinful men. I prayed inwardly,
that these deeds of mine might never be brought to
the knowledge of men who were incapable of appreciating
the high motives that led to them; and
then I sung part of the 10th Psalm, likewise in
spirit; but for all these efforts, my sinful doubts
returned, so that when my illustrious friend joined
me, and proffered me the choice of two gilded rapiers,
I declined accepting any of them, and began,
in a very bold and energetic manner, to express my
doubts regarding the justification of all the deeds
of perfect men. He chided me severely, and branded
me with cowardice, a thing that my nature never
was subject to; and then he branded me with
falsehood, and breach of the most solemn engagments
both to God and man.
I was compelled to take the rapier, much again
my inclination; but for all the arguments, threat
and promises that he could use, I would not consent
to send a challenge to my brother by his mouth.
There was one argument only that he made use of
which had some weight with me, but yet it would
not preponderate. He told me my brother was
gone to a notorious and scandalous habitation of
women, and that if I left him to himself for ever
so short a space longer, it might embitter his state
through ages to come. This was a trying concern
to me; but I resisted it, and reverted to my doubts.
On this he said that he had meant to do me honour,
but since I put it out of his power, he would
do the deed, and take the responsibility on himself.
"I have with sore travail procured a guard
ship of your life," added he. "For my own, I
have not; but, be that as it will, I shall not be
baffled in my attempts to benefit my friends without
a trial. You will at all events accompany me
and see that I get justice?"
"Certes, I will do thus much," said I; "and
wo be to him if his arm prevail against my friend
and patron!"
His lip curled with a smile of contempt, which
I could hardly brook; and I began to be afraid
that the eminence to which I had been destined by
him was already fading from my view. And I
thought what I should then do to ingratiate myself
again with him, for without his countenance I had
no life. "I will be a man in act," thought I,
"but in sentiment I will not yield, and for this he
must surely admire me the more."
As we emerged from the shadowy lane into the
fair moonshine, I started so that my whole frame
underwent the most chilling vibrations of surprise.
I again thought I had been taken at unawares, and
was conversing with another person. My friend
was equipped in the Highland garb, and so completely
translated into another being, that, save by
his speech, all the senses of mankind could not
have recognized him. I blessed myself, and asked
whom it was his pleasure to personify to-night? He
answered me carelessly, that it was a spark whom
he meant should bear the blame of whatever might
fall out to-night; and that was all that passed on
the subject.
We proceeded by some stone steps at the foot of
the North Loch, in hot argument all the way. I
was afraid that our conversation might be over
heard, for the night was calm and almost as light
as day, and we saw sundry people crossing as
we advanced. But the zeal of my friend was so
high, that he disregarded all danger, and continued
to argue fiercely and loudly on my delinquency as
he was pleased to call it. I stood on one argument
alone, which was, "that I did not think the Scripture
promises to the elect, taken in their utmost
latitude, warranted the assurance that they could
do no wrong; and that, therefore, it behoved every
man to look well to his steps."
There was no religious scruple that irritated my
enlightened friend and master so much as this. He
could not endure it. And the sentiments of our
great covenanted reformers being on his side, there
is not a doubt that I was wrong. He lost all patience
on hearing what I advanced on this matter,
and taking hold of me, he led me into a darksome
booth in a confined entry; and, after a friendly but
cutting reproach, he bade me remain there in secret
and watch the event; "and if I fall," said he,
"you will not fail to avenge my death?"
I was so entirely overcome with vexation that I
could make no answer, on which he left me abruptly,
a prey to despair; and I saw or heard no
more, till he came down to the moonlight green
followed by my brother. They had quarrelled before
they came within my hearing, for the first
words I heard were those of my brother, who was
in a state of intoxication, and he was urging a reconciliation,
as was his wont on such occasions. My
friend spurned at the suggestion, and dared him to
the combat; and after a good deal of boastful altercation,
which the turmoil of my spirits prevented
me from remembering, my brother was compelled
to draw his sword and stand on the defensive.
It was a desperate and terrible engagement. I at
first thought that the royal stranger and great
champion of the faith would overcome his opponent
with ease, for I considered heaven as on his side,
and nothing but the arm of sinful flesh against
him. But I was deceived: The sinner stood firm
as a rock, while the assailant flitted about like a
shadow, or rather like a spirit. I smiled inwardly,
conceiving that these lightsome manœuvres were all
a sham to show off his art and mastership in the
exercise, and that whenever they came to close
fairly, that instant my brother would be overcome.
Still I was deceived: My brother's arm seemed invincible,
so that the closer they fought the more
palpably did it prevail. They fought round the
green to the very edge of the water, and so round,
till they came close up to the covert where I stood.
There being no more room to shift ground, my
brother then forced him to come to close quarters,
on which, the former still having the decided advantage,
my friend quitted his sword, and called
out. I could resist no longer; so, springing from
my concealment, I rushed between them with my
sword drawn, and parted them as if they had been
two schoolboys: then turning to my brother, I addressed
him as follows: — "Wretch! miscreant!
knowest thou what thou art attempting? Would
thou lay thine hand on the Lord's anointed, or shed
his precious blood? Turn thee to me, that I may
chastise thee for all thy wickedness, and not for the
many injuries thou hast done to me!" To it we
went, with full thirst of vengeance on every side.
The duel was fierce; but the might of heaven prevailed,
and not my might. The ungodly and reprobate
young man fell, covered with wounds, and
with curses and blasphemy in his mouth, while I
escaped uninjured. Thereto his power extended
I will not deny, that my own immediate impressions
of this affair in some degree differed from
this statement. But this is precisely as my illustrious
friend described it to me afterwards, and I
can rely implicitly on his information, as he was
at that time a looker-on, and my senses all in a
state of agitation, and he could have no motive for
saying what was not the positive truth.
Never till my brother was down did we perceive
that there had been witnesses to the whole business.
Our ears were then astounded by rude challenges
of unfair play, which were quite appalling to me;
but my friend laughed at them, and conducted me
off in perfect safety. As to the unfairness of the
transaction, I can say thus much, that my royal
friend's sword was down ere ever mine was presented.
But if it still be accounted unfair to take up
a conqueror, and punish him in his own way, I
answer: That if a man is sent on a positive mission
by his master, and hath laid himself under
vows to do his work, he ought not to be too nice
in the means of accomplishing it; and farther, I
appeal to holy writ, wherein many instances are recorded
of the pleasure the Lord takes in the final
extinction of the wicked and profane; and this position
I take to be unanswerable.
I was greatly disturbed in my mind for many
days, knowing that the transaction had been witnessed,
and sensible also of the perilous situation I
occupied, owing to the late judgment of the court
against me. But, on the contrary, I never saw my
enlightened friend in such high spirits. He as
scared me there was no danger; and again repeated,
that he warranted my life against the power of man.
I thought proper, however, to remain in hiding for
a week; but, as he said, to my utter amazement,
the blame fell on another, who was not only accused,
but pronounced guilty by the general voice,
and outlawed for non-appearance! how could I
doubt, after this, that the hand of heaven was aid
ing and abetting me? The matter was beyond my
comprehension; and as for my friend, he never explained
any thing that was past, but his activity
and art were without a parallel.
He enjoyed our success mightily; and for His
sake I enjoyed it somewhat, but it was on account
of his comfort only, for I could not for my life perceive
in what degree the church was better or purer
than before these deeds were done. He continued
to flatter me with great things, as to honours, fame,
and emolument; and, above all, with the blessing
and protection of him to whom my body and soul
were dedicated. But after these high promises, I
got no longer peace; for he began to urge the death
of my father with such an unremitting earnestness,
that I found I had nothing for it but to comply.
I did so; and cannot express his enthusiasm of
approbation. So much did he hurry and press me
in this, that I was forced to devise some of the most
openly violent measures, having no alternative.
Heaven spared me the deed, taking, in that instance,
the vengeance in its own hand; for before
my arm could effect the sanguine but meritorious
act, the old man followed his son to the grave.
My illustrious and zealous friend seemed to regret
this somewhat; but he comforted himself with
the reflection, that still I had the merit of it,
having not only consented to it, but in fact effected
it, for by doing the one action I had brought about
No sooner were the obsequies of the funeral over,
than my friend and I went to Dalcastle, and took
undisputed possession of the houses, lands, and effects
that had been my father's; but his plate, any
vast treasures of ready money, he had bestowed on
a voluptuous and unworthy creature, who had lived
long with him as a mistress. Fain would I have
sent her after her lover, and gave my friend some
hints on the occasion; but he only shook his head
and said that we must lay all selfish and interested
motives out of the question.
For a long time, when I awaked in the morning
I could not believe my senses, that I was indeed
the undisputed and sole proprietor of so much
wealth and grandeur; and I felt so much gratified
that I immediately set about doing all the good
was able, hoping to meet with all approbation and
encouragement from my friend. I was mistaken
He checked the very first impulses towards such a
procedure, questioned my motives, and uniformly
made them out to be wrong. There was one morning
that a servant said to me, there was a lady in
the back chamber who wanted to speak with me,
but he could not tell me who it was, for all the old
servants had left the mansion, every one on hearing
of the death of the late laird, and those who had
come knew none of the people in the neighbourhood.
From several circumstances, I had suspicions
of private confabulations with women, and
refused to go to her, but bid the servant inquire
what she wanted. She would not tell; she could
only state the circumstances to me; so I, being
sensible that a little dignity of manner became me
in my elevated situation, returned for answer, that
if it was business that could not be transacted by
my steward, it must remain untransacted. The answer
which the servant brought back was of a threatening
nature. She stated that she must see me,
and if I refused her satisfaction there, she would
compel it where I should not evite her.
My friend and director appeared pleased with
my dilemma, and rather advised that I should hear
what the woman had to say; on which I consented,
provided she would deliver her mission in his
presence. She came in with manifest signs of anger
and indignation, and began with a bold and direct
charge against me of a shameful assault on one
of her daughters; of having used the basest of
means in order to lead her aside from the paths of
rectitude; and on the failure of these, of having
resorted to the most unqualified measures.
I denied the charge in all its bearings, assuring
the dame that I had never so much as seen either
of her daughters to my knowledge, far less wronged
them; on which she got into great wrath, at
abused me to my face as an accomplished vagabond,
hypocrite, and sensualist; and she went so
far as to tell me roundly, that if I did not marry
her daughter, she would bring me to the gallows,
and that in a very short time.
"Marry your daughter, honest woman!" said I,
"on the faith of a Christian, I never saw your
daughter; and you may rest assured in this, that
I will neither marry you nor her. Do you consider
how short a time I have been in this place?
How much that time has been occupied? And how
there was even a possibility that I could have accomplished
such villainies?"
"And how long does your Christian reverence
suppose you have remained in this place since the
late laird's death?" said she.
"That is too well known to need recapitulation,
said I: "only a very few days, though I cannot
at present specify the exact number; perhaps from
thirty to forty, or so. But in all that time, certes,
I have never seen either you or any of your two
daughters that you talk of. You must be quite
sensible of that."
My friend shook his head three times during this
short sentence, while the woman held up her hands
in amazement and disgust, exclaiming, "There
goes the self-righteous one! There goes the consecrated
youth, who cannot err! You, sir, know,
and the world shall know of the faith that is in this
most just, devout, and religious miscreant! Can
you deny that you have already been in this place
four months and seven days? Or that in that time
you have been forbid my house twenty times? Or
that you have persevered in your endeavours to
effect the basest and most ungenerous of purposes?
Or that you have attained them? hypocrite and
deceiver as you are! Yes, sir; I say, dare you
deny that you have attained your vile, selfish, and
degrading purposes towards a young, innocent, and
unsuspecting creature, and thereby ruined a poor
widow's only hope in this world? No, you cannot
look in my face, and deny aught of this."
"The woman is raving mad!" said I. "You,
illustrious sir, know, that in the first instance, I
have not yet been in this place one month." My
friend shook his head again, and answered me,
"You are wrong, my dear friend; you are wrong.
It is indeed the space of time that the lady hath
stated, to a day, since you came here, and I came
with you; and I am sorry that I know for certain
that you have been frequently haunting her house,
and have often had private correspondence with one
of the young ladies too. Of the nature of it I presume
not to know."
"You are mocking me," said I. "But as well
may you try to reason me out of my existence, as
to convince me that I have been here even one
month, or that any of those things you allege
against me has the shadow of truth or evidence to
support it. I will swear to you, by the great God
that made me; and by —"
"Hold, thou most abandoned profligate!" cried
she violently, "and do not add perjury to your other
detestable crimes. Do not, for mercy's sake, any
more profane that name whose attributes you have
wrested and disgraced. But tell me what reparation
you propose offering to my injured child?"
"I again declare, before heaven, woman, that to
the best of my knowledge and recollection, I never
saw your daughter. I now think I have some faint
recollection of having seen your face, but where,
or in what place, puzzles me quite."
"And, why?" said she. "Because for months
and days you have been in such a state of extreme
inebriety, that your time has gone over like a dream
that has been forgotten. I believe, that from the
day you came first to my house, you have been in
a state of utter delirium, and that principally from
the fumes of wine and ardent spirits."
"It is a manifest falsehood!" said I; "I have
never, since I entered on the possession of Dalcastle,
tasted wine or spirits, saving once, a few
evenings ago; and, I confess to my shame, that I
was led too far; but I have craved forgiveness and
obtained it. I take my noble and distinguished
friend there for a witness to the truth of what I
assert; a man who has done more, and sacrificed
more for the sake of genuine Christianity, than any
this world contains. Him you will believe."
"I hope you have attained forgiveness," said he,
seriously. "Indeed it would be next to blasphemy
to doubt it. But, of late, you have been very much
addicted to intemperance. I doubt if, from the first
night you tasted the delights of drunkenness, that
you have ever again been in your right mind until
Monday last. Doubtless you have been for a good
while most diligent in your addresses to this lady's
"This is unaccountable," said I. "It is impossible
that I can have been doing a thing, and
not doing it at the same time. But indeed, honest
woman, there have several incidents occurred to me
in the course of my life which persuade me I have
a second self; or that there is some other being who
appears in my likeness."
Here my friend interrupted me with a sneer,
and a hint that I was talking insanely; and then
he added, turning to the lady, "I know my
friend Mr. Colwan will do what is just and right.
Go and bring the young lady to him, that he may
see her, and he will then recollect all his former
amours with her."
"I humbly beg your pardon, sir," said I. "But
the mention of such a thing as amours with any
woman existing, to me, is really so absurd, so far
from my principles, so far from the purity of nature
and frame to which I was born and consecrated,
that I hold it as an insult, and regard it with
I would have said more in reprobation of such
an idea, had not my servant entered, and said, that
a gentleman wanted to see me on business. Being
glad of an opportunity of getting quit of my lady
visitor, I ordered the servant to show him in;
and forthwith a little lean gentleman, with a long
acquiline nose, and a bald head, daubed all over
with powder and pomatum, entered. I thought I
recollected having seen him too, but could not remember
his name, though he spoke to me with the
greatest familiarity; at least, that sort of familiarity
that an official person generally assumes. He
bustled about and about, speaking to every one,
but declined listening for a single moment to any.
The lady offered to withdraw, but he stopped her.
"No, no, Mrs. Keeler, you need not go; you
need not go; you must not go, madam. The business
I came about, concerns you — yes, that it
does — Bad business yon of Walker's? Eh? Could
not help it — did all I could, Mr. Wringhim. Done
your business. Have it all cut and dry here, sir —
No, this is not it — Have it among them, though —
I'm at a little loss for your name, sir, (addressing
my friend,) — seen you very often, though — exceedingly
often — quite well acquainted with you."
"No, sir, you are not," said my friend, sternly
— The intruder never regarded him; never so much
as lifted his eyes from his bundle of law papers,
among which he was bustling with great hurry and
importance, but went on —
"Impossible! Have seen a face very like it,
then — what did you say your name was, sir? —
very like it indeed. Is it not the young laird who
was murdered whom you resemble so much?"
Here Mrs. Keeler uttered a scream, which so
much startled me, that it seems I grew pale. And
on looking at my friend's face, there was something
struck me so forcibly in the likeness between him
and my late brother, that I had very nearly fainted.
The woman exclaimed, that it was my brother's
spirit that stood beside me.
"Impossible!" exclaimed the attorney; "at
least I hope not, else his signature is not worth a
pin. There is some balance due on you business,
madam. Do you wish your account? because I
have it here, ready discharged, and it does not suit
letting such things lie over. This business of Mr.
Colwan's will be a severe one on you, madam,
— rather a severe one."
"What business of mine, if it be your will, sir,"
said I. "For my part I never engaged you in
business of any sort, less or more." He never
regarded me, but went on. "You may appeal,
though: Yes, yes, there are such things as appeals
for the refractory. Here it is, gentlemen, — here
they are all together — Here is, in the first place, sir,
your power of attorney, regularly warranted, sealed,
and signed with your own hand."
"I declare solemnly that I never signed that document,"
said I.
"Ay, ay, the system of denial is not a bad one
in general," said my attorney; "but at present
there is no occasion for it. You do not deny your
own hand?"
"I deny every thing connected with the business,"
cried I; "I disclaim it in toto, and declare
that I know no more about it than the child unborn."

"That is exceedingly good!" exclaimed he;
"I like your pertinacity vastly! I have three of
your letters, and three of your signatures; that part
is all settled, and I hope so is the whole affair; for
here is the original grant to your father, which he
has never thought proper to put in requisition.
Simple gentleman! But here have I, Lawyer
Linkum, in one hundredth part of the time that any
other notary, writer, attorney, or writer to the signet
in Britain, would have done it, procured the
signature of his Majesty's commissioner, and thereby
confirmed the charter to you and your house,
sir, for ever and ever, — Begging your pardon, madam."
The lady, as well as myself, tried several
times to interrupt the loquacity of Linkum, but
in vain: he only raised his hand with a quick flourish,
and went on: —
"Here it is JAMES, by the grace of God,
King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, to his
right trust cousin, sendeth greeting: And where
as his right leal and trust-worthy cousin, George
Colwan, of Dalcastle and Balgrennan, hath suffered
great losses, and undergone much hardship, on behalf
of his Majesty's rights and titles; he therefore,
for himself, and as prince and steward of Scotland,
and by the consent of his right trusty cousins
and councillors, hereby grants to the said George
Colwan, his heirs and assignees whatsomever, heretably
and irrevocably, all and haill the lands and
others underwritten: To wit, All and haill, the
five merk land of Kipplerig; the five pound land
of Easter Knockward, with all the towers, fortalices,
manor-places, houses, biggings, yards, orchards,
tofts, crofts, mills, woods, fishings, mosses, muirs,
meadows, commonties, pasturages, coals, coalheughs,
tenants, tenantries, services of free tenants,
annexes, connexes, dependencies, parts, pendicles,
and pertinents of the same whatsomever; to be
peaceably brooked, joysed, set, used, and disposed
of by him and his aboves, as specified, heritably
and irrevocably, in all time coming: And, in testimony
thereof, His Majesty, for himself, and as
prince and steward of Scotland, with the advice
and consent of his foresaids, knowledge, proper
motive, and kingly power, makes, erects, creates,
unites, annexes, and incorporates, the whole lands
above mentioned in an haill and free barony, by
all the rights, miethes, and marches thereof, old
and divided, as the same lies, in length and breadth,
in houses, biggings, mills, multures, hawking,
hunting, fishing; with court, plaint, herezeld, fock,
fork, sack, sock, thole, thame, vert, wraik, waith,
wair, venison, outfang thief, infang thief, pit and
gallows, and all and sundry other commodities.
Given at our Court of Whitehall, &c. &c. God
save the King.
'Compositio 5 lib. 13. 8.
'Registrate 26th September, 1687.'
"See, madam, here are ten signatures of privy
councillors of that year, and here are other ten of
the present year, with his Grace the Duke of Queensberry
at the head. All right — See here it is, sir,
— all right — done your work. So you see, madam,
this gentleman is the true and sole heritor of all
the land that your father possesses, with all the
rents thereof for the last twenty years, and up
wards — Fine job for my employers! — sorry on your
account, madam — can't help it."
I was again going to disclaim all interest or connection
in the matter, but my friend stopped me;
and the plaints and lamentations of the dame became
so overpowering, that they put an end to all
farther colloquy; but Lawyer Linkum followed me,
and stated his great outlay, and the important services
he had rendered me, until I was obliged to
subscribe an order to him for £100 on my banker.
I was now glad to retire with my friend, and ask
seriously for some explanation of all this. It was
in the highest degree unsatisfactory. He confirmed
all that had been stated to me; assuring me,
that I had not only been assiduous in my endevours
to seduce a young lady of great beauty, which
it seemed I had effected, but that I had taken counsel,
and got this supposed, old, false, and forged
grant, raked up and new signed, to ruin the young
lady's family quite, so as to throw her entirely on
myself for protection, and be wholly at my will.
This was to me wholly incomprehensible. I
could have freely made oath to the contrary of every
particular. Yet the evidences were against me,
and of a nature not to be denied. Here I must
confess, that, highly as I disapproved of the love
of women, and all intimacies and connections with
the sex, I felt a sort of indefinite pleasure, an ungracious
delight in having a beautiful woman solely
at my disposal. But I thought of her spiritual
good in the meantime. My friend spoke of my
backslidings with concern; requesting me to make
sure of my forgiveness, and to forsake them; and
then he added some words of sweet comfort. But
from this time forth I began to be sick at times of
my existence. I had heart-burnings, longings, and
yearnings, that would not be satisfied; and I seemed
hardly to be an accountable creature; being
thus in the habit of executing transactions of the
utmost moment, without being sensible that I did
them. I was a being incomprehensible to myself.
Either I had a second self, who transacted business
in my likeness, or else my body was at times possessed
by a spirit over which it had no controul,
and of whose actions my own soul was wholly unconscious.
This was an anomaly not to be accounted
for by any philosophy of mine, and I was
many times, in contemplating it, excited to terrors
and mental torments hardly describable. To be
in a state of consciousness and unconsciousness, at
the same time, in the same body and same spirit,
was impossible. I was under the greatest anxieity,
dreading some change would take place momently in
my nature; for of dates I could make nothing: one--
half, or two-thirds of my time, seemed to me to be
totally lost. I often, about this time, prayed with
great fervour, and lamented my hopeless condition,
especially in being liable to the commission of
crimes, which I was not sensible of, and could not
eschew. And I confess, notwithstanding the promises
on which I had been taught to rely, I began
to have secret terrors, that the great enemy of man's
salvation was exercising powers over me, that might
eventually lead to my ruin. These were but temponary
and sinful fears, but they added greatly to my
The worst thing of all was, what hitherto I had
never felt, and, as yet, durst not confess to myself,
that the presence of my illustrious and devoted
friend was becoming irksome to me. When I was
by myself, I breathed freer, and my step was lighter;
but, when he approached, a pang went to my
heart, and, in his company, I moved and acted as
if under a load that I could hardly endure. What
a state to be in! And yet to shake him off was impossible
— we were incorporated together — identified
with one another, as it were, and the power was
not in me to separate myself from him. I still
knew nothing who he was, farther than that he
was a potentate of some foreign land, bent on
establishing some pure and genuine doctrines of
Christianity, hitherto only half understood, and
less than half exercised. Of this I could have no
doubts, after all that he had said, done, and suffered
in the cause. But, alongst with this, I was also
certain, that he was possessed of some supernatural
power, of the source of which I was wholly
ignorant. That a man could be a Christian, and
at the same time a powerful necromancer, appeared
inconsistent, and adverse to every principle
taught in our church; and from this I was led to
believe, that he inherited his powers from on high,
for I could not doubt either of the soundness of his
principles, or that he accomplished things impossible
to account for.
Thus was I sojourning in the midst of a chaos
of confusion. I looked back on my bypast life
with pain, as one looks back on a perilous journey,
in which he has attained his end, without gaining
any advantage either to himself, or others; and I
looked forward, as on a darksome waste, full of repulsive
and terrific shapes, pitfalls, and precipices,
to which there was no definite bourne, and from
which I turned with disgust. With my riches, my
unhappiness was increased tenfold; and here, with
another great acquisition of property, for which I
had pleaed, and which I had gained in a dream,
my miseries and difficulties were increasing. My
principal feeling, about this time, was an insatiable
longing for something that I cannot describe or
denominate properly, unless I say it was for utter
oblivion that I longed. I desired to sleep; but it
was for a deeper and longer sleep, than that in
which the senses were nightly steeped. I longed
to be at rest and quiet, and close my eyes on the
past and the future alike, as far as this frail life
was concerned. But what had been formerly and
finally settled in the counsels above, I presumed
not to call in question.
In this state of irritation and misery, was I dragging
on an existence, disgusted with all around
me, and in particular with my mother, who, with
all her love and anxiety, had such an insufferable
mode of manifesting them, that she had by this
time rendered herself exceedingly obnoxious to me.
The very sound of her voice at a distance, went to
my heart like an arrow, and made all my nerves to
shrink; and as for the beautiful young lady of
whom they told me I had been so much enamoured,
I shunned all intercourse with her or hers, as
I would have done with the devil. I read some
of their letters and burnt them, but refused to see
either the young lady or her mother, on any account.

About this time it was, that my worthy and reverend
parent came with one of his elders to see my
mother and myself His presence always brought
joy with it into our family, for my mother was uplifted,
and I had so few who cared for me, or for whom
I cared, that I felt rather gratified at seeing him.
My illustrious friend was also much more attached
to him, than any other person, (except myself,) for
their religious principles tallied in every point,
and their conversation was interesting, serious, and
sublime. Being anxious to entertain well and highly
the man to whom I had been so much indebted,
and knowing that with all his integrity and righteousness,
he disdained not the good things of this
life, I brought from the late laird's well-stored cellars,
various fragrant and salubrious wines, and we
drank and became merry, and I found that my
miseries and overpowering calamities, passed away
over my head like a shower that is driven by the
wind. I became elevated and happy, and welcomed
my guests an hundred times; and then I joined
them in religious conversation, with a zeal and enthusiasm
which I had not often experienced, and
which made all their hearts rejoice, so that I said
to myself, "Surely every gift of God is a blessing,
and ought to be used with liberality and thankfulness."

The next day I waked from a profound and feverish
sleep, and called for something to drink.
There was a servant answered whom I had never
seen before, and he was clad in my servant's clothes
and livery. I asked for Andrew Handyside, the
servant who had waited at table the night before;
but the man answered with a stare and a smile.
"What do you mean, sirrah," said I. "Pray
what do you here? or what are you pleased to laugh
at? I desire you to go about your business, and
send me up Handyside. I want him to bring me
something to drink."
"Ye sanna want a drink, maister," said the fellow:
"Tak a hearty ane, and see if it will wauken
ye up something, sae that ye dinna ca' for
ghaists through your sleep. Surely ye haena forgotten
that Andrew Handyside has been in his
grave these six months?"
This was a stunning blow to me. I could not
answer farther, but sunk back on my pillow as if I
had been a lump of lead, refusing to take a drink
or any thing else at the fellow's hand, who seemed
thus mocking me with so grave a face. The man
seemed sorry, and grieved at my being offended,
but I ordered him away, and continued sullen and
thoughtful. Could I have again been for a season
in utter oblivion to myself, and transacting business
which I neither approved of, nor had any connection
with! I tried to recollect something in which
I might have been engaged, but nothing was pourtrayed
on my mind subsequent to the parting with
my friends at a late hour the evening before. The
evening before it certainly was but if so, how
came it, that Andrew Handyside, who served at
table that evening, should have been in his grave
six months! This was a circumstance somewhat
equivocal; therefore, being afraid to arise lest accusations
of I knew not what might come against
me, I was obliged to call once more in order to
come at what intelligence I could. The same fellow
appeared to receive my orders as before, and I see
about examining him with regard to particulars.
He told me his name was Scrape; that I hired
him myself; of whom I hired him; and at whose
recommendation. I smiled, and nodded so as to
let the knave see I understood he was telling me
a chain of falsehoods, but did not choose to begin
with any violent asseverations to the contrary.
"And where is my noble friend and companion?"
said I. "How has he been engaged in the
"I dinna ken him, sir," said Scrape; "but have
heard it said, that the strange mysterious person
that attended you, him that the maist part of folks
countit uncanny, had gane awa wi' a Mr. Ringan
o' Glasko last year, and had never returned."
I thanked the Lord in my heart for this intelligence,
hoping that the illustrious stranger had returned
to his own land and people, and that I
should thenceforth be rid of his controlling and
appalling presence. "And where is my mother?"
said I. — The man's breath cut short, and he looked
at me without returning any answer. — "I ask
you where my mother is?" said I.
"God only knows, and not I, where she is," returned
he. "He knows where her soul is, and as
for her body, if you dinna ken something o' it,
I suppose nae man alive does."
"What do you mean, you knave?" said I. "What
dark hints are these you are throwing out? Tell
me precisely and distinctly what you know of my
"It is unco queer o' ye to forget, or pretend to
forget every thing that gate, the day, sir," said he.
"I'm sure you heard enough about it yestreen;
an' I can tell you, there are some gayan ill-faurd
stories gaun about that business. But as the thing
is to be tried afore the circuit lords, it wad be far
wrang to say either this or that to influence the public
mind; it is best just to let justice tak its swee. I
hae naething to say, sir. Ye hae been a good
enough maister to me, and paid my wages regularly,
but ye hae muckle need to be innocent, for
there are some heavy accusations rising against
"I fear no accusations of man," said I, "as
long as I can justify my cause in the sight of Heaven;
and that I can do this I am well aware. Go
you and bring me some wine and water, and some
other clothes than these gaudy and glaring ones."
I took a cup of wine and water; put on my black
clothes, and walked out. For all the perplexity
that surrounded me, I felt my spirits considerably
buoyant. It appeared that I was rid of the two
greatest bars to my happiness, by what agency I
knew not. My mother, it seemed, was gone, who
had become a grievous thorn in my side of late, and
my great companion and counsellor, who tyrannized
over every spontaneous movement of my heart, had
likewise taken himself off. This last was an unspeakable
relief; for I found that for a long season
I had only been able to act by the motions of his
mysterious mind and spirit. I therefore thanked
God for my deliverance, and strode through my
woods with a daring and heroic step; with independence
in my eye, and freedom swinging in my
right hand.
At the extremity of the Colwan wood, I perceived
a figure approaching me with slow and dignified
motion. The moment that I beheld it, my whole
frame received a shock as if the ground on which I
walked had sunk suddenly below me. Yet, at that
moment, I knew not who it was; it was the air and
motion of some one that I dreaded, and from whom
I would gladly have escaped; but this I even had
not power to attempt. It came slowly onward, and
I advanced as slowly to meet it; yet when we came
within speech, I still knew not who it was. It
bore the figure, air, and features of my late brother,
I thought, exactly; yet in all these there were traits
so forbidding, so mixed with an appearance of
misery, chagrin, and despair, that I still shrunk
from the view, not knowing on whose face I looked.
But when the being spoke, both my mental and bodily
frame received another shock more terrible
than the first, for it was the voice of the great personage
I had so long denominated my friend, of
whom I had deemed myself for ever freed, and
whose presence and counsels I now dreaded. more
than hell. It was his voice, but so altered — I shall
never forget it till my dying day. Nay, I can scarce
conceive it possible that any earthly sounds could
be so discordant, so repulsive to every feeling of a
human soul, as the tones of the voice that grated on
my ear at that moment. They were the sounds of
the pit, wheezed through a grated cranny, or seemed
so to my distempered imagination.
"So! Thou shudderest at my approach now,
Dost thou?" said he. "Is this all the gratitude that
you deign for an attachment of which the annals of
the world furnish no parallel? An attachment
which has caused me to forego power and dominion,
might, homage, conquest and adulation, all
that I might gain one highly valued and sanctified
spirit, to my great and true principles of reformation
among mankind. Wherein have I offended?
What have I done for evil, or what have I not
done for your good, that you would thus shun my
"Great and magnificent prince," said I humbly,
"let me request of you to abandon a poor worthless
wight to his own wayward fortune, and return to
the dominion of your people. I am unworthy of
the sacrifices you have made for my sake; and after
all your efforts, I do not feel that you have rendered
me either more virtuous or more happy. For
the sake of that which is estimable in human nature,
depart from me to your own home, before you
render me a being either altogether above, or below
the rest of my fellow creatures. Let me plod on
towards heaven and happiness in my own way, like
those that have gone before me, and I promise to
stick fast by the great principles which you have
so strenuously inculcated, on condition that you
depart and leave me for ever."
"Sooner shall you make the mother abandon
the child of her bosom; nay, sooner cause the
shadow to relinquish the substance, than separate
me from your side. Our beings are amalgamated,
as it were, and consociated in one, and never shall
I depart from this country until I can carry you
in triumph with me."
I can in nowise describe the effect this appalling
speech had on me. It was like the announcement
of death to one who had of late deemed himself
free, if not of something worse than death, and of
longer continuance. There was I doomed to remain
in misery, subjugated, soul and body, to one whose
presence was become more intolerable to me than
ought on earth could compensate: And at that moment,
when he beheld the anguish of my soul, he
could not conceal that he enjoyed it. I was troubled
for an answer, for which he was waiting: it be
came incumbent on me to say something after such
a protestation of attachment; and, in some degree
to shake the validity of it, I asked, with great simplicity,
where he had been all this while?
"Your crimes and your extravagancies forced
me from your side for a season," said he; "but
now that I hope the day of grace is returned, I am
again drawn towards you by an affection that has
neither bounds nor interest; an affection for which
I receive not even the poor return of gratitude, and
which seems to have its radical sources in fascination.
I have been far, far abroad, and have seem
much, and transacted much, since I last spoke with
you. During that space, I grievously suspect that
you have been guilty of great crimes and misdemeanours,
crimes that would have sunk an unregenerated
person to perdition; but as I knew to
be only a temporary falling off, a specimen of that
liberty by which the chosen and elected ones are
made free, I closed my eyes on the wilful debasement
of our principles, knowing that the transgressions
could never be accounted to your charge, and
that in good time you would come to your senses,
and throw the whole weight of your crimes on the
shoulders that had voluntarily stooped to receive
the load."
"Certainly I will," said I, "as I and all the
justified have a good right to do. But what crimes?
What misdemeanours and transgressions do you talk
about? For my part, I am conscious of none, and
am utterly amazed at insinuations which I do not
"You have certainly been left to yourself for a
season," returned he, "having gone on rather like
a person in a delirium, than a Christian in his sober
senses. You are accused of having made away
with your mother privately; as also of the death of
a beautiful young lady, whose affections you had seduced."

"It is an intolerable and monstrous falsehood!"
cried I, interrupting him; "I never laid a hand
on a woman to take away her life, and have even
shinnied their society from my childhood: I know
nothing of my mother's exit, nor of that young
lady's whom you mention — Nothing whatever."
"I hope it is so," said he. "But it seems there
are some strong presumptuous proofs against you,
and I came to warn you this day that a precognition
is in progress, and that unless you are perfectly
convinced, not only of your innocence, but of your
ability to prove it, it will be the safest course for
you to abscond, and let the trial go on without
"Never shall it be said that I shrunk from such
a trial as this," said I. "It would give grounds
for suspicions of guilt that never had existence,
even in thought. I will go and show myself in
every public place, that no slanderous tongue may
wag against me. I have shed the blood of sinners,
but of these deaths I am guiltless; therefore, I
will face every tribunal, and put all my accusers
"Asseveration will avail you but little," answered
he, composedly: "It is, however, justifiable in its
place, although to me it signifies nothing, who
know too well that you did commit both crimes, in
your own person, and with your own hands. Far
be it from me to betray you; indeed, I would rather
endeavour to palliate the offences; for though adverse
to nature, I can prove them not to be so to
the cause of pure Christianity, by the mode of which
we have approved of it, and which we wish to promulgate."

"If this that you tell me be true," said I, "then
is it as true that I have two souls, which take possession
of my bodily frame by turns, the one being all
unconscious of what the other performs; for as sure
as I have at this moment a spirit within me, fashioned
and destined to eternal felicity, as sure am I utterly
ignorant of the crimes you now lay to my
"Your supposition may be true in effect," said
he. "We are all subjected to two distinct natures
in the same person. I myself have suffered grievously
in that way. The spirit that now directs my
energies is not that with which I was endowed at
my creation. It is changed within me, and so is
my whole nature. My former days were those
of grandeur and felicity. But, would you believe
it? I was not then a Christian. Now I
am. I have been converted to its truths by passing
through the fire, and since my final conversion,
my misery has been extreme. You complain that
I have not been able to render you more happy
than you were. Alas! do you expect it in the difficult
and exterminating career which you have
begun. I, however, promise you this — a portion
of the only happiness which I enjoy, sublime in its
motions, and splendid in its attainments — I will
place you on the right hand of my throne, and show
you the grandeur of my domains, and the felicity
of my millions of true professors."
I was once more humbled before this mighty potentate,
and promised to be ruled wholly by his
directions, although at that moment my nature
shrunk from the concessions, and my soul longed
rather to be inclosed in the deeps of the sea, or involved
once more in utter oblivion. I was like
Daniel in the den of lions, without his faith in divine
support, and wholly at their mercy. I felt as
one round whose body a deadly snake is twisted,
which continues to hold him in its fangs, without
injuring him, farther than in moving its scaly in
fernal folds with exulting delight, to let its victim
feel to whose power he has subjected himself; and
thus did I for a space drag an existence from day
to day, in utter weariness and helplessness; at
one time worshipping with great fervour of spirit,
and at other times so wholly left to myself, as to
work all manner of vices and follies with greediness.
In these my enlightened friend never accompanied
me, but I always observed that he was the first to
lead me to every one of them, and then leave me
in the lurch. The next day, after these my fallings
off; he never failed to reprove me gently, blaming
me for my venial transgressions; but then he
had the art of reconciling all, by reverting to my
justified and infallible state, which I found to prove
a delightful healing salve for every sore.
But, of all my troubles, this was the chief: I
was every day and every hour assailed with accusations
of deeds of which I was wholly ignorant;
of acts of cruelty, injustice, defamation, and deceit;
of pieces of business which I could not be
made to comprehend; with law-suits, details, arrestments
of judgment, and a thousand interminable
quibbles from the mouth of my loquacious and
conceited attorney. So miserable was my life rendered
by these continued attacks, that I was often
obliged to lock myself up for days together, never
seeing any person save my man Samuel Scrape,
who was a very honest blunt fellow, a staunch Cameronian,
but withal very little conversant in religious
matters. He said he came from a place called
Penpunt, which I thought a name so ludicrous,
that I called him by the name of his native village,
an appellation of which he was very proud, and
answered every thing with more civility and perspicuity
when I denominated him Penpunt, than
Samuel, his own Christian name. Of this peasant
was I obliged to make a companion on sundry occasions,
and strange indeed were the details which
he gave me concerning myself, and the ideas of the
country people concerning me. I took down a few
of these in writing, to put off the time, and here
leave them on record to show how the best and
greatest actions are misconstrued among sinful and
ignorant men.
"You say, Samuel, that I hired you myself —
that I have been a good enough master to you,
and have paid you your weekly wages punctually.
Now, how is it that you say this, knowing, as you
do, that I never hired you, and never paid you a
sixpence of wages in the whole course of my life,
excepting this last month?"
"Ye may as weel say, master, that water's no
water, or that stanes are no stanes. But that's just
your gate, an' it is a great pity aye to do a thing
an' profess the clean contrair. Weel then, since you
havena paid me ony wages, an' I can prove day
and date when I was hired, an' came hame to your
service, will you be sae kind as to pay me now?
That's the best way o' curing a man o' the mortal
disease o' leasing-making that I ken o'."
"I should think that Penpunt and Cameronian
principles, would not admit of a man taking twice
payment for the same article."
"In sic a case as this, sir, it disna hinge upon
principles, but a piece o' good manners; an' I can
tell you that at sic a crisis, a Cameronian is a gay-an
weel-bred man. He's driven to this, that he
maun either make a breach in his friend's good
name, or in his purse; an' O, sir, whilk o' thae,
think you, is the most precious? For instance, an a
Galloway drover had comed to the town o' Penpunt,
an' said to a Cameronian, (the folk's a' Cameronians
there,) 'Sir, I want to buy your cow.' 'Vera weel,'
says the Cameronian, 'I just want to sell the cow,
sae gie me twanty punds Scots, an' take her w'ye.'
It's a bargain. The drover takes away the cow,
an' gies the Cameronian his twanty pund Scots.
But after that, he meets him again on the white
sands, amang a' the drovers an' dealers o' the land,
an' the Gallowayman, he says to the Cameronian,
afore a' thae witnesses, 'Come, Master Whiggam,
I hae never paid you for yon bit useless cow, that
I bought, I'll pay her the day, but you maun
mind the luck-penny; there's muckle need for't, — or
something to that purpose. The Cameronian then
turns out to be a civil man, an' canna bide to make
the man baith a feele an' liar at the same time, afore
a' his associates; an' therefore he pits his principles
aff at the side, to be a kind o' sleepin partner,
as it war, an' brings up his good breeding to stand
at the counter: he pockets the money, gies the
Galloway drover time o' day, an' comes his way.
An' wha's to blame? Man mind yoursel is the
first commandment. A Cameronian's principles
never came atween him an' his purse, nor sanna in
the present case; for as I canna bide to make
you out a leear, I'll thank you for my wages."
"Well, you shall have them, Samuel, if you declare
to me that I hired you myself in this same
person, and bargained with you with this same
tongue, and voice, with which I speak to you just
"That I do declare, unless ye hae twa persons
o' the same appearance, and twa tongues to the
same voice. But, od saif us, sir, do you ken what
the auld wives o' the clachan say about you?"
"How should I, when no one repeats it to me?"
"Oo, I trow it's a' stuff; — folk shouldna heed
what's said by auld crazy kimmers. But there are
some o' them wed kend for witches too; an' they
say, — lord have a care o' us! — they say the deil's often
seen gaun sidie for sidie w'ye, whiles in ae
shape, an' whiles in another. An' they say that he
whiles takes your ain shape, or else enters into you,
and then you turn a deil yoursel."
"I was so astounded at this terrible idea that
had gone abroad, regarding my fellowship with
the prince of darkness, that I could make no answer
to the fellow's information, but sat like one in
a stupor; and if it had not been for my well-founded
faith, and conviction that I was a chosen and
elected one before the world was made, I should at
that moment have given into the popular belief,
and fallen into the sin of despondency; but I was
preserved from such a fatal error by an inward and
unseen supporter. Still the insinuation was so like
what I felt myself, that I was greatly awed and
The poor fellow observed this, and tried to do
away the impression by some farther sage remarks
of his own.
"Hout, dear sir, it is balderdash, there's nae
doubt o't. It is the crownhead o' absurdity to tak
in the havers o' auld wives for gospel. I told them
that my master was a peeous man, an' a sensible
man; an' for praying, that he could ding auld Macmillan
himsel. 'Sae could the deil,' they said,
'when he liket, either at preaching or praying, if
these war to answer his ain ends.' Na, na,' says
I, but he's a strick believer in a' the truths o'
Christianity, my master.' They said, sae was Satan,
for that he was the firmest believer in a' the
truths of Christianity that was out o' heaven; an'
that, sin' the Revolution that the gospel had turned
sae rife, he had been often driven to the shift
o' preaching it himsel, for the purpose o' getting
some wrang tenets introduced into it, and thereby
turning it into blasphemy and ridicule."
I confess, to my shame, that I was so overcome
by this jumble of nonsense, that a chillness came
over me, and in spite of all my efforts to shake off
the impresssion it had made, I fell into a faint.
Samuel soon brought me to myself, and after a deep
draught of wine and water, I was greatly revived,
and felt my spirit rise above the sphere of vulgar
conceptions, and the restrained views of unregenerate
men. The shrewd but loquacious fellow, perceiving
this, tried to make some amends for the
pain he had occasioned to me, by the following
story, which I noted down, and which was brought
on by a conversation to the following purport: —
"Now, Penpunt, you may tell me all that passed
between you and the wives of the clachan. I
am better of that stomach qualm, with which I am
sometimes seized, and shall be much amused by
hearing the sentiments of noted witches regarding
myself and my connections."
"Weel, you see, sir, I says to them, 'It will be
lang afore the deil intermeddle wi' as serious a professor,
and as fervent a prayer as my master, for
gin he gets the upper hand o' sickan men, wha's to
be safe?' An', what think ye they said, sir? There
was ane Lucky Shaw set up her lang lantern chafts,
an' answered me, an' a' the rest shanned and noddit
in assent an' approbation: 'Ye silly, sauchless,
Cameronian cuif!' quo she, 'is that a' that ye ken
about the wiles and doings o' the prince o' the air,
that rules an' works in the bairns of disobedience?
Gin ever he observes a proud professor, wha has
mae than ordinary pretensions to a divine calling,
and that reards and prays till the very howlets learn
his preambles, that's the man Auld Simmie fixes on
to mak a dishclout o'. He canna get rest in hell,
if he sees a man, or a set of men o' this stamp, an'
when he sets fairly to wark, it is seldom that he
disna bring them round till his ain measures by
hook or by crook. Then, O it is a grand prize
for him, an' a proud deil he is, when he gangs
hame to his ain ha', wi' a batch o' the souls o' sic
strenuous professors on his back. Ay, I trow, auld
Ingleby, the Liverpool packman, never came up
Glasco street wi' prouder pomp, when he had ten
horse-laids afore him o' Flanders lace, an' Hollin
lawn, an' silks an' satins frae the eastern Indians,
than Satan wad strodge into hell with a pack-laid
o' the souls o' proud professors on his braid shoulders.
Ha, ha, ha! I think I see how the auld
thief wad be gaun through his gizened dominions,
crying his wares, in derision, 'Wha will buy a
fresh, cauler divine, a bouzy bishop, a fasting zealot,
or a piping priest? For a' their prayers an
their praises, their aumuses, an' their penances, their
whinings, their howlings, their rantings, an' their
ravings, here they come at last! Behold the end
Here go the rare and precious wares! A fat professor
for a bodle, an' a lean ane for half a merk!
I declare, I trembled at the auld hag's ravings,
but the lave o' the kimmers applauded the sayings
as sacred truths. An' then Lucky went on: There
are many wolves in sheep's claithing, among us,
my man; mony deils aneath the masks o' zealous
professors, roaming about in kirks and meeting--
houses o' the land. It was but the year afore the
last, that the people o' the town o' Auchtermuchty
grew so rigidly righteous, that the meanest hind
among them became a shining light in ither towns
an' parishes. There was nought to be heard, neither
night nor day, but preaching, praying, argumentation,
an' catechising in a' the famous town o'
Auchtermuchty. The young men wooed their
sweethearts out o' the Song o' Solomon, an' the
girls returned answers in strings o' verses out o'
the Psalms. At the lint-swinglings, they said questions
round; and read chapters, and sang hymns
at bridals; auld and young prayed in their dreams,
an' prophesied in their sleep, till the deils in the
farrest nooks o' hell were alarmed, and moved to
commotion. Gin it hadna been an auld earl, Robin
Ruthven, Auchtermuchty wad at that time hae
been ruined and lost for ever. But Robin was a
cunning man, an' had rather mae wits than his ain,
for he had been in the hands o' the fairies when he
was young, an' a' kinds o' spirits were visible to his
een, an' their language as familiar to him as his ain:
mother tongue. Robin was sitting on the side o'
the West Lowmond, ae still gloomy night in Setember,
when he saw a bridal o' corbie craws coming
east the lift, just on the edge o' the gloaming
The moment that Robin saw them, he kenned, by
their movements, that they were craws o' some ither
warld than this; so he signed himself, and crap into
the middle o' his bourock. The corbie craws
came a' an' sat down round about him, an' they
poukit their black sooty wings, an' spread them out
to the breeze to cool; and Robin heard ae corbie
speaking, an' another answering him; and the tane
said to the tither: 'Where will the ravens find a
prey the night?' — 'On the lean crazy souls o'
Auchtermuchty,' quo the tither. — 'I fear they will
be o'er weel wrappit up in the warm flannens o'
faith, an' clouted wi' the dirty duds o' repentance,
for us to mak a meal o',' quo the first. — 'Whaten
vile sounds are these that I hear coming bumming
up the hill?' 'O these are the hymns and praises o'
the auld wives and creeshy louns o' Auchtermuchty,
wha are gaun crooning their way to heaven; an' gin
it warna for the shame o' being beat, we might let
our great enemy tak them. For sic a prize as he will
hae! Heaven, forsooth! What shall we think o' heaven,
if it is to be filled wi' vermin like thae, amang
whom there is mair poverty and pollution, than
I can name.' 'No matter for that,' said the first,
'we cannot have our power set at defiance; though
we should put them in the thief's hole, we must
catch them, and catch them with their own bait too.
Come all to church to-morrow, and I'll let you hear
how I'll gull the saints of Auchtermuchty. In the
mean time, there is a feast on the Sidlaw hills tonight,
below the hill of Macbeth, — Mount, Diabolus,
and fly.' Then, with loud croaking and crowing,
the bridal of corbies again scaled the dusky air,
and left Robin Ruthven in the middle of his cairn.
"The next day the congregation met in the kirk
of Auchtermuchty, but the minister made not his
appearance. The elders ran out and in, making inquiries;
but they could learn nothing, save that the
minister was missing. They ordered the clerk to
sing a part of the 119th Psalm, until they saw if
the minister would cast up. The clerk did as he
was ordered, and by the time he reached the 77th
verse, a strange divine entered the church, by the
western door, and advanced solemnly up to the
pulpit. The eyes of all the congregation were riveted
on the sublime stranger, who was clothed in
a robe of black sackcloth, that flowed all around
him, and trailed far behind, and they weened him
an angel, come to exhort them, in disguise. He
read out his text from the Prophecies of Ezekiel,
which consisted of these singular words: I will
overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no
more, until he come, whose right it is, and I will
give it him.'
"'From these words he preached such a sermon as
never was heard by human ears, at least never by
ears of Auchtermuchty. It was a true, sterling,
gospel sermon — it was striking, sublime, and awful
in the extreme. He finally made out the IT, mentioned
in the text, to mean, properly and positively,
the notable town of Auchtermuchty. He proved
all the people in it, to their perfect satisfaction, to
be in the of bitterness and bond of iniquity,
and he assured them, that God would overturn
them, their principles, and professions; and that
they should be no more, until the devil, the town's
greatest enemy, came, and then it should be given
unto him for a prey, for it was his right, and to him
it belonged, if there was not forthwith a radical
change made in all their opinions and modes of
The inhabitants of Auchtermuchty were electrified
— they were charmed; they were actually raving
mad about the grand and sublime truths delivered
to them, by this eloquent and impressive
preacher of Christianity. 'He is a prophet of the
Lord,' said one, 'sent to warn us, as Jonah was sent
to the Ninevites.' 'O, he is an angel sent from heaven,
to instruct this great city,' said another, 'for no
man ever uttered truths so sublime before.' The
good people of Auchtermuchty were in perfect raptures
with the preacher, who had thus sent them
to hell by the slump, tag, rag, and bobtail! Nothing
in the world delights a truly religious people
so much, as consigning them to eternal damnation.
They wondered after the preacher — they crowded
together, and spoke of his sermon with admiration,
and still as they conversed, the wonder and the admiration
increased; so that honest Robin Ruthven's
words would not be listened to. It was in vain
that he told them he heard a raven speaking, and
another raven answering him: the people laughed
him to scorn, and kicked him out of their assemblies,
as a one who spoke evil of dignities; and they
called him a warlock, an' a daft body, to think to
mak language out o' the trouping o' craws.
"The sublime preacher could not be heard of, although
all the country was sought for him, even to the
minutest corner of St. Johnston and Dundee; but as
he had announced another sermon on the same text,
on a certain day, all the inhabitants of that populous
country, far and near, flocked to Auchtermuchty.
Cupar, Newburgh, and Strathmiglo, turned our
men, women, and children. Perth and Dundee
gave their thousands; and from the East Nook
of Fife to the foot of the Grampian hills, there was
nothing but running and riding that morning to
Auchtermuchty. The kirk would not hold the
thousandth part of them. A splendid tent was erected
on the brae north of the town, and round that
the countless congregation assembled. When they
were all waiting anxiously for the great preacher,
behold, Robin Ruthven set up his head in the tent,
and warned his countrymen to beware of the doctrines
they were about to hear, for he could prove,
to their satisfaction, that they were all false, and
tended to their destruction!
"The whole multitude raised a cry of indignation
against Robin, and dragged him from the tent, the
elders rebuking him, and the multitude threatening
to resort to stronger measures; and though he told
them a plain and unsophisticated tale of the black
corbies, he was only derided. The great preacher
appeared once more, and went through his two discourses
with increased energy and approbation. All
who heard him were amazed, and many of them
went into fits, writhing and foaming in a state of
the most horrid agitation. Robin Ruthven sat on
the outskirts of the great assembly, listening with
the rest, and perceived what they, in the height of
their enthusiasm, perceived not, — the ruinous tendency
of the tenets so sublimely inculcated. Robin
kenned the voice of his friend the corby-craw again,
and was sure he could not be wrang: sae when
public worship was finished, a' the elders an' a' the
gentry flocked about the great preacher, as he stood
on the green brae in the sight of the hale congregation,
an' a' war alike anxious to pay him some mark
o' respect. Robin Ruthven came in amang the
thrang, to try to effect what he had promised; and,
with the greatest readiness and simplicity, just took
hand o' the side an' wide gown, an' in sight of a'
present, held it aside as high as the preacher's knee,
and behold, there was a pair o' cloven feet! The
auld thief was fairly catched in the very height o'
his proud conquest, an' put down by an auld carl.
He could feign nae mair, but gnashing on Robin
wi' his teeth, he dartit into the air like a fiery dragon,
an' keust a reid rainbow our the taps o' the
"'A' the auld wives an' weavers o' Auchtermuchty
fell down flat wi' affright, an' betook them to their
prayers aince again, for they saw the dreadfu' danger
they had escapit, an' frae that day to this it is
a hard matter to gar an Auchtermuchty man listen
to a sermon at a', an' a harder ane still to gar him
applaud ane, for he thinks aye that he sees the cloven
foot peeping out frae aneath ilka sentence.
"Now, this is a true story, my man,' quo the
auld wife; 'an' whenever you are doubtfu' of a man,
take auld Robin Ruthven's plan, an' look for the cloven
foot, for it's a thing that winna weel hide; an'
it appears whiles where ane wadna think o't. It
will keek out frae aneath the parson's gown, the
lawyer's wig, and the Cameronian's blue bannet;
but still there is a gouden rule whereby to detect
it, an' that never, never fails.' — The auld witch
didna gie me the rule, an' though I hae heard tell
o't often an' often, shame fa' me an I ken what it
is! But ye will ken it well, an' it wad be nae the
waur of a trial on some o' your friends, maybe;
for they say there's a certain gentleman seen
walking wi' you whiles, that, wherever he sets his
foot, the grass withers as gin it war scoudered wi' a
het ern. His presence be about us! What's the
matter wi' you, master? Are ye gaun to take the
calm o' the stamock again?"
The truth is, that the clown's absurd story, with
the still more ridiculous application, made me sick
at heart a second time. It was not because I
thought my illustrious friend was the devil, or
that I took a fool's idle tale as a counterbalance to
divine revelation, that had assured me of my justification
in the sight of God before the existence of
time. But, in short, it gave me a view of my own
state, at which I shuddered, as indeed I now always
did, when the image of my devoted friend and
ruler presented itself to my mind. I often communed
with my heart on this, and wondered how
a connection, that had the well-being of mankind
solely in view, could be productive of fruits so bitter.
I then went to try my works by the Saviour's golden
rule, as my servant had put it into my head to
do; and, behold, not one of them would stand the
test. I had shed blood on a ground on which I
could not admit that any man had a right to shed
mine; and I began to doubt the motives of my adviser
once more, not that they were intentionally
bad, but that his was some great mind led astray
by enthusiasm, or some overpowering passion.
He seemed to comprehend every one of these
motions of my heart, for his manner towards me altered
every day. It first became any thing but
agreeable, then supercilious, and finally, intolerable;
so that I resolved to shake him off, cost what
it would, even though I should be reduced to beg
my bread in a foreign land. To do it at home was
impossible, as he held my life in his hands, to sell
it whenever he had a mind; and besides, his ascendancy
over me was as complete as that of a
huntsman over his dogs. I was even so weak, as,
the next time I met with him, to look stedfastly at
his foot, to see if it was not cloven into two hoofs.
It was the foot of a gentleman, in every respect, so
far as appearances went, but the form of his counsels
was somewhat equivocal, and if not doublet they
were amazingly crooked.
But, if I had taken my measures to abscond and
fly from my native place, in older to free myself of
this tormenting, intolerant, and bloody reformer,
he had likewise taken his to expel me, or throw me
into the hands of justice. It seems, that about
this time, I was haunted by some spies connected
with my late father and brother, of whom the mistress
of the former was one. My brother's death
had been witnessed by two individuals; indeed, I
always had an impression that it was witnessed by
more than one, having some faint recollection of
hearing voices and challenges close beside me; and
this woman had searched about until she found
these people; but, as I shrewdly suspected, not
without the assistance of the only person in my secret,
— my own warm and devoted friend. I say this,
because I found that he had them concealed in the
neighbourhood, and then took me again and again
where I was fully exposed to their view, without
being aware. One time in particular, on pretence
of gratifying my revenge on that base woman, he
knew so well where she lay concealed, that he led
me to her, and left me to the mercy of two viragos,
who had very nigh taken my life. My time of residence
at Dalcastle was wearing to a crisis. I could
no longer live with my tyrant, who haunted me like
my shadow; and besides, it seems there were proofs
of murder leading against me from all quarters. Of
part of these I deemed myself quite free, but the
world deemed otherwise; and how the matter would
have gone, God only knows, for, the case never
having undergone a judicial trial, I do not. It
perhaps, however, behoves me here to relate all
that I know of it, and it is simply this:
On the first of June 1712, (well may I remember
the day,) I was sitting locked in my secret
chamber, in a state of the utmost despondency, revolving
in my mind what I ought to do to be free
of my persecutors, and wishing myself a worm, or
a moth, that I might be crushed and at rest, when
behold Samuel entered, with eyes like to start out
of his head, exclaiming, "For God's sake, master,
fly and hide yourself, for your mother's found, an'
as sure as you're a living soul, the blame is gaun
to fa' on you!"
"My mother found!" said I. "And, pray,
where has she been all this while?" In the mean
time, I was terribly discomposed at the thoughts of
her return.
Been, sir! Been? Why, she has been where
ye pat her, it seems, — lying buried in the sands
o' the linn. I can tell you, ye will see her a frightsome
figure, sic as I never wish to see again. An'
the young lady is found too, sir: an' it is said the
devil — I beg pardon sir, your friend, I mean, —
it is said your friend has made the discovery, an'
the folk are away to raise officers, an' they will be
here in an hour or two at the farthest, sir; an'
sae you hae not a minute to lose, for there's proof,
sir, strong proof, an' sworn proof, that ye were
last seen them baith; sae, unless ye can gie a'
the better an account o' baith yoursel an' them, either
hide, or flee for your bare life."
"I will neither hide nor fly," said I; "for I
am as guiltless of the blood of these women as the
child unborn."
"The country disna think sae, master; an' I
can assure you, that should evidence fail, you run a
risk o' being torn limb frae limb. They are bringing
the corpse here, to gar ye touch them baith
afore witnesses, an' plenty o' witnesses there will
"They shall not bring them here," cried I, shocked
beyond measure at the experiment about to be
made: "Go, instantly, and debar them from entering
my gate with their bloated and mangled carcases."

"The body of your own mother, sir!" said the
fellow emphatically. I was in terrible agitation;
and, being driven to my wit's end, I got up and
strode furiously round an' round the room. Samuel
wist not what to do, but I saw by his staring he
deemed me doubly guilty. A tap came to the chamber
door: we both started like guilty creatures
and as for Samuel, his hairs stood all on end with
alarm, so that when I motioned to him, he could
scarcely advance to open the door. He did so at
length, and who should enter but my illustrious
friend, manifestly in the utmost state of alarm. The
moment that Samuel admitted him, the former made
his escape by the prince's side as he entered, seemingly
in a state of distraction. I was little better.
when I saw this dreaded personage enter my chamber,
which he had never before attempted; and
being unable to ask his errand, I suppose I stood
and gazed on him like a statue.
"I come with sad and tormenting tidings to you,
my beloved and ungrateful friend," said he; "but
having only a minute left to save your life, I have
come to attempt it. There is a mob coming towards
you with two dead bodies, which will place
you in circumstances disagreeable enough: but that
is not the worst, for of that you may be able to
clear yourself. At this moment there is a party of
officers, with a Justiciary warrant from Edinburgh,
surrounding the house, and about to begin the
search of it, for you. If you fall into their hands,
you are inevitably lost; for I have been making
earnest inquiries, and find that every thing is in
train for your ruin."
"Ay, and who has been the cause of all this?"
said I, with great bitterness. But he stopped me
short, adding, "There is no time for such reflections
at present: I gave you my word of honour
that your life should be safe from the hand of man.
So it shall, if the power remain with me to save it.
I am come to redeem my pledge, and to save your
life by the sacrifice of my own. Here, — Not one
word of expostulation, change habits with me, and
you may then pass by the officers, and guards, and
even through the approaching mob, with the most
perfect temerity. There is a virtue in this garb,
and instead of offering to detain you, they shall pay
you obeisance. Make haste, and leave this place
for the present, flying where you best may, and if
I escape from these dangers that surround me, I
will endeavour to find you out, and bring you what
intelligence I am able.
I put on his green frock coat, buff belt, and a
sort of a turban that he always wore on his head,
somewhat resembling a bishop's mitre: he drew his
hand thrice across my face, and I withdrew as he
continued to urge me. My hall door and postern
gate were both strongly guarded, and there were
sundry armed people within, searching the closets;
but all of them made way for me, and lifted their
caps as I passed by them. Only one superior officer
accosted me, asking if I had seen the culprit?
I knew not what answer to make, but chanced to
say, with great truth and propriety, "He is safe
enough." The man beckoned with a smile, as much
as to say, "Thank you, sir, that is quite sufficient;"
and I walked deliberately away.
I had not well left the gate, till, hearing a great
noise coming from the deep glen toward the east,
I turned that way, deeming myself quite secure in
this my new disguise, to see what it was, and if
matters were as had been described to me. There
I met a great mob, sure enough, coming with two
dead bodies stretched on boards, and decently covered
with white sheets. I would fain have examined
their appearance, had I not perceived the
apparent fury in the looks of the men, and judged
from that how much more safe it was for me not to
intermeddle in the affray. I cannot tell how it was,
but I felt a strange and unwonted delight in viewing
this scene, and a certain pride of heart in being
supposed the perpetrator of the unnatural crimes
laid to my charge. This was a feeling quite new
to me; and if there were virtues in the robes of
the illustrious foreigner, who had without all dispute
preserved my life at this time; I say, if there
was any inherent virtue in these robes of his, as he
had suggested, this was one of their effects, that
they turned my heart towards that which was evil,
horrible, and disgustful.
I mixed with the mob to hear what they were
saying. Every tongue was engaged in loading me
with the most opprobrious epithets! One called me
a monster of nature; another an incarnate devil;
and another a creature made to be cursed in time
and eternity. I retired from them, and winded
my way southward, comforting myself with the assurance,
that so mankind had used and persecuted
the greatest fathers and apostles of the Christian
church, and that their vile opprobrium could not
alter the counsels of heaven concerning me.
On going over that rising ground called Dorington
Moor, I could not help turning round and taking
a look of Dalcastle. I had little doubt that
it would be my last look, and nearly as little ambition
that it should not. I thought how high my
hopes of happiness and advancement had been
on entering that mansion, and taking possession of
its rich and extensive domains, and how miserably
I had been disappointed. On the contrary, I had
experienced nothing but chagrin, disgust, and terror;
and I now consoled myself with the hope that
I should henceforth shake myself free of the chains
of my great tormentor, and for that privilege was
I willing to encounter any earthly distress. I could
not help perceiving, that I was now on a path which
was likely to lead me into a species of distress
hitherto unknown, and hardly dreamed of by me,
and that was total destitution. For all the riches
I had been possessed of a few hours previous to
this, I found that here I was turned out of my lordly
possessions without a single merk, or the power
of lifting and commanding the smallest sum, without
being thereby discovered and seized. Had it
been possible for me to have escaped in my own
clothes, I had a considerable sum secreted in these,
but, by the sudden change, I was left without a
coin for present necessity. But I had hope in heaven,
knowing that the just man would not be left
destitute; and that though many troubles surrounded
him, he would at last be set free from them all.
I was possessed of strong and brilliant parts, and a
liberal education; and though I had somehow unaccountably
suffered my theological qualifications
to fall into desuetude, since my acquaintance with
the ablest and most rigid of all theologians, I had
nevertheless hopes that, by preaching up redemption
by grace, pre-ordination, and eternal purpose,
I should yet be enabled to benefit mankind in some
country, and rise to high distinction.
These were some of the thoughts by which I
consoled myself as I posted on my way southward,
avoiding the towns and villages, and falling into the
cross ways that led from each of the great roads
passing east and west, to another. I lodged the
first night in the house of a country weaver, into
which I stepped at a late hour, quite overcome with
hunger and fatigue, having travelled not less than
thirty miles from my late home. The man received
me ungraciously, telling me of a gentleman's
house at no great distance, and of an inn a little
farther away; but I said I delighted more in the
society of a man like him, than that of any gentleman
of the land, for my concerns were with the
poor of this world, it being easier for a camel to go
through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to
enter into the kingdom of heaven. The weaver's
wife, who sat with a child on her knee, and had not
hitherto opened her mouth, hearing me speak in
that serious and religious style, stirred up the fire,
with her one hand; then drawing a chair near it,
she said, "Come awa, honest lad, in by here; sin'
it be sae that you belang to Him wha gies us a' that
we hae, it is but right that you should share a part.
You are a stranger, it is true, but them that winna
entertain a stranger will never entertain an angel
I never was apt to be taken with the simplicity
of nature; in general I despised it; but, owing to
my circumstances at the time, I was deeply affected
by the manner of this poor woman's welcome. The
weaver continued in a churlish mood throughout
the evening, apparently dissatisfied with what his
wife had done in entertaining me, and spoke to her
in a manner so crusty that I thought proper to rebuke
him, for the woman was comely in her person,
and virtuous in her conversation; but the weaver
her husband was large of make, ill-favoured, and
pestilent; therefore did I take him severely to task
for the tenor of his conduct; but the man was froward,
and answered me rudely, with sneering and
derision, and, in the height of his caprice, he said
to his wife, "Whan focks are sae keen of a chance
o' entertaining angels, gudewife, it wad maybe be
worth their while to tak tent what kind o' angels
they are. It wadna wonder me vera muckle an
ye had entertained your friend the deil the night,
for aw thought aw fand a saur o' reek an' brimstane
about him. He's nane o' the best o' angels, an'
focks winna hae muckle credit by entertaining
Certainly, in the assured state I was in, I had as
little reason to be alarmed at mention being made
of the devil as any person on earth: of late, however,
I felt that the reverse was the case, and that
any allusion to my great enemy, moved me exceedingly.
The weaver's speech had such an effect
on me, that both he and his wife were alarmed at
my looks. The latter thought I was angry, and
chided her husband gently for his rudeness; but
the weaver himself rather seemed to be confirmed
in his opinion that I was the devil, for he looked
round like a startled roe-buck, and immediately betook
him to the family Bible.
I know not whether it was on purpose to prove
my identity or not, but I think he was going to desire
me either to read a certain portion of Scripture
that he had sought out, or to make family worship,
had not the conversation at that instant taken
another turn; for the weaver, not knowing how to
address me, abruptly asked my name, as he was
about to put the Bible into my hands. Never having
considered myself in the light of a malefactor,
but rather as a champion in the cause of truth,
and finding myself perfectly safe under my disguise,
I had never once thought of the utility of
changing my name, and when the man asked me, I
hesitated; but being compelled to say something,
I said my name was Cowan. The man stared at
me, and then at his wife, with a look that spoke a
knowledge of something alarming or mysterious.
"Ha! Cowan?" said he. "That's most extrordinar!
Not Colwan, I hope?"
"No: Cowan is my sirname," said I. "But
why not Colwan, there being so little difference in
the sound?"
"I was feared ye might be that waratch that
the deil has taen the possession o', an' eggit him
on to kill baith his father an' his mother, his only
brother, an' his sweetheart," said he; "an' to say
the truth, I'm no that sure about you yet, for I see
you're gaun wi' arms on ye."
"Not I, honest man," said I; "I carry no arms;
a man conscious of his innocence and uprightness
of heart, needs not to carry arms in his defence
"Ay, ay, maister," said he; "an' pray what
div ye ca' this bit windlestrae that's appearing
here?" With that he pointed to something on
the inside of the breast of my frock-coat. I looked
at it, and there certainly was the gilded haft of
a poniard, the same weapon I had seen and handled
before, and which I knew my illustrious companion
always carried about with him; but till that
moment I knew not that I was in possession of it.
I drew it out: a more dangerous or insidious
looking weapon could not be conceived. The weaver
and his wife were both frightened, the latter
in particular; and she being my friend, and I dependant
on their hospitality, for that night, I said,
"I declare I knew not that I carried this small
rapier, which has been in my coat by chance, and
not by any design of mine. But lest you should
think that I meditate any mischief to any under
this roof, I give it into your hands, requesting of
you to lock it by till tomorrow, or when I shall
next want it."
The woman seemed rather glad to get hold of it;
and, taking it from me, she went into a kind of
pantry out of my sight, and locked the weapon up;
and then the discourse went on.
"There cannot be such a thing in reality," said
I, "as the story you were mentioning just now, of
a man whose name resembles mine."
"It's likely that you ken a wee better about the
story than I do, mister," said he, "suppose you
do leave the L out of your name. An' yet I think
sic a waratch, an' a murderer, wad hae taen a name
wi' some gritter difference in the sound. But the
story is just that true, that there were twa o' the
Queen's officers here nae mair than an hour ago,
in pursuit o' the vagabond, for they gat some intelligence
that he had fled this gate; yet they said
he had been last seen wi' black claes on, an' they
supposed he was clad in black. His ain servant is
wi' them, for the purpose o' kennin the scoundrel,
an' they're galloping through the country like madmen.
I hope in God they'll get him, an' rack his
neck for him!"
I could not say Amen to the weaver's prayer,
and therefore tried to compose myself as well as I
could, and made some religious comment on the
causes of the nation's depravity. But suspecting
that my potent friend had betrayed my flight and
disguise, to save his life, I was very uneasy, and
gave myself up for lost. I said prayers in the family,
with the tenor of which the wife was delighted,
but the weaver still dissatisfied; and, after a
supper of the most homely fare, he tried to start an
argument with me, proving, that every thing for
which I had interceded in my prayer, was irrelevant
to man's present state. But I, being weary
and distressed in mind, shunned the contest, and
requested a couch whereon to repose.
I was conducted into the other end of the house,
among looms, treadles, pirns, and confusion without
end; and there, in a sort of box, was I shut up
for my night's repose, for the weaver, as he left me,
cautiously turned the key of my apartment, and
left me to shift for myself among the looms, determined
that I should escape from the house with
nothing. After he and his wife and children were
crowded into their den, I heard the two mates contending
furiously about me in suppressed voices,
the one maintaining the probability that I was the
murderer, and the other proving the impossibility
of it. The husband, however, said as much as let
me understand, that he had locked me up on purpose
to bring the military, or officers of justice, to
seize me. I was in the utmost perplexity, yet, for
all that, and the imminent danger I was in, I fell
asleep, and a more troubled and tormenting sleep
never enchained a mortal frame. I had such
dreams that they will not bear repetition, and early
in the morning I awaked, feverish, and parched
with thirst.
I went to call mine host, that he might let me
out to the open air, but before doing so, I thought
it necessary to put on some clothes. In attempting
to do this, a circumstance arrested my attention,
(for which I could in nowise account, which to this
day I cannot twiddle, nor shall I ever be able to
comprehend it while I live,) the frock and turban,
which had furnished my disguise on the preceding
day, were both removed, and my own black coat
and cocked hat laid down in their place. At first
I thought I was in a dream, and felt the weaver's
beam, web, and treadle-strings with my hands, to
convince myself that I was awake. I was certainly
awake; and there was the door locked firm and
fast as it was the evening before. I carried my
own black coat to the small window, and examined
it. It was my own in verity; and the sums of money,
that I had concealed in case of any emergency,
remained untouched. I trembled with astonishment;
and on my return from the small window,
went doiting in amongst the weaver's looms, till I
entangled myself, and could not get out again without
working great deray amongst the coarse linen
threads that stood in warp from one end of the apartment
unto the other. I had no knife whereby to cut
the cords of this wicked man, and therefore was obliged
to call out lustily for assistance. The weaver
came half naked, unlocked the door, and, setting
in his head and long neck, accosted me thus:
"What now, Mr. Satan? What for are ye roaring
that gate? Are you fawn inna little hell, instead
o' the big muckil ane? Deil be in your reistit
trams! What for have ye abscondit yoursel into
ma leddy's wab for?"
"Friend, I beg your pardon," said I; "I wanted
to be at the light, and have somehow unfortunately
involved myself in the intricacies of your
web, from which I cannot get clear without doing
you a great injury. Pray do, lend your experienced
hand to extricate me."
"May aw the pearls o' damnation light on your
silly snout, an I dinna estricat ye weel enough!
Ye ditit, donnart, deil's burd that ye be! what
made ye gang howkin in there to be a poor man's
ruin? Come out, ye vile rag-of-a-muffin, or I gar
ye come out wi' mair shame and disgrace, an' fewer
haill banes in your body."
My feet had slipped down through the double
warpings of a web, and not being able to reach the
ground with them, (there being a small pit below,)
I rode upon a number of yielding threads, and there
being nothing else that I could reach, to extricate
myself was impossible. I was utterly powerless;
and besides, the yarn and cords hurt me very much.
For all that, the destructive weaver seized a loom--
spoke, and began a-beating me most unmercifully,
while, entangled as I was, I could do nothing but
shout aloud for mercy, or assistance, whichever
chanced to be within hearing. The latter, at length,
made its appearance, in the form of the weaver's
wife, in the same state of dishabille with himself,
who instantly interfered, and that most strenuously,
on my behalf. Before her arrival, however, I
had made a desperate effort to throw myself out of
the entanglement I was in; for the weaver continued
repeating his blows and cursing me so, that I
determined to get out of his meshes at any risk.
This effect made my case worse; for my feet being
wrapt among the nether threads, as I threw myself
from my saddle on the upper ones, my feet brought
the others up through these, and I hung with my
head down, and my feet as firm as they had been
in a vice. The predicament of the web being
thereby increased, the weaver's wrath was doubled
in proportion, and he laid on without mercy.
At this critical juncture the wife arrived, and
without hesitation rushed before her offended lord,
withholding his hand from injuring me farther, although
then it was uplifted along with the loom-spoke
in overbearing ire. "Dear Johnny! I think
ye be gaen dementit this morning. Be quiet, my
dear, an' dinna begin a Boddel Brigg business in
your ain house. What for it ye persecutin' a servant
o' the Lord's that gate, an' pitting the life out
o' him wi' his head down an' his heels up?"
"Had ye said a servant o' the deil's, Nans, ye
wad hae been nearer the nail, for gin he binna the
auld ane himsel, he's gayan sib till him. There,
didna I lock him in on purpose to bring the military
on him; an' in place o' that, hasna he keepit me
in a sleep a' this while as deep as death? An' here
do I find him abscondit like a speeder i' the mids
o' my leddy's wab, an' me dreamin' a' the night that
I had the deil i' my house, an' that he was clapperclawin
me ayont the loom. Have at you, ye brunstane
thief!" and, in spite of the good woman's
struggles, he lent me another severe blow.
"Now, Johnny Dods, my man! O Johnny Dods,
think if that be like a Christian, and ane o' the
heroes o' Boddel Brigg, to entertain a stranger, an'
then bind him in a web wi' his head down, an' mell
him to death! O Johnny Dods, think what you are
about! Slack a pin, an' let the good honest religious
lad out."
The weaver was rather overcome, but still stood
to his point that I was the deil, though in better
temper; and as he slackened the web to release me,
he remarked, half laughing, "Wha wad hae
thought that John Dods should hae escapit a' the
snares an' dangers that circumfauldit him, an' at
last should hae weaved a net to catch the deil."
The wife released me soon, and carefully whispered
me, at the same time, that it would be as
well for me to dress and be going. I was not long
in obeying, and dressed myself in my black clothes,
hardly knowing what I did, what to think, or
whither to betake myself. I was sore hurt by the
blows of the desperate ruffian; and, what was worse,
my ankle was so much strained, that I could hardly
set my foot to the ground. I was obliged to apply
to the weaver once more, to see if I could learn
any thing about my clothes, or how the change was
effected. "Sir," said I, "how comes it that you
have robbed me of my clothes, and put these down
in their place over night?"
"Ha! thae claes? Me pit down thae claes!"
said he, gaping with astonishment, and touching
the clothes with the point of his fore-finger; "I
never saw them afore, as I have death to meet wi':
So help me God!"
He strode into the work-house where I slept,
to satisfy himself that my clothes were not there,
and returned perfectly aghast with consternation.
"The doors were baith fast lockit," said he. "I
could hae defied a rat either to hae gotten out or in.
My dream has been true! My dream has been
true! The Lord judge between thee and me; but,
in his name, I charge you to depart out o' this
house; an', gin it be your will, dinna tak the braid--
side o't w'ye, but gang quietly out at the door wi'
your face foremost. Wife, let nought o' this enchanter's
remain i' the house, to be a curse, an' a
snare to us; gang an' bring him his gildit weapon,
an' may the Lord protect a' his ain against its hellish
an' deadly point!"
The wife went to seek my poniard, trembling so
excessively that she could hardly walk, and shortly
after, we heard a feeble scream from the pantry.
The weapon had disappeared with the clothes,
though under double lock and key; and the terror
of the good people having now reached a disgusting
extremity, I thought proper to make a sudden retreat,
followed by the weaver's anathemas.
My state both of body and mind was now truly
deplorable. I was hungry, wounded, and lame;
an outcast and a vagabond in society; my life
sought after with avidity, and all for doing that to
which I was predestined by him who fore-ordains
whatever comes to pass. I knew not whither to
betake me. I had purposed going into England,
and there making some use of the classical education
I had received, but my lameness rendered this
impracticable for the present. I was therefore obliged
to turn my face towards Edinburgh, where I
was little known — where concealment was more
practicable than by skulking in the country, and
where I might turn my mind to something that was
great and good. I had a little money, both Scots
and English, now in my possession, but not one
friend in the whole world on whom I could rely.
One devoted friend, it is true, I had, but he was
become my greatest terror. To escape from him,
I now felt that I would willingly travel to the farthest
corners of the world, and be subjected to every
deprivation; but after the certainty of what had
taken place last night, after I had travelled thirty
miles by secret and bye-ways, I saw not how escape
from him was possible.
Miserable, forlorn, and dreading every person
that I saw, either behind or before me, I hasted on
towards Edinburgh, taking all the bye and unfrequented
paths; and the third night after I left the
weaver's house, I reached the West Port, without
meeting with any thing remarkable. Being exceedingly
fatigued and lame, I took lodgings in the
first house I entered, and for these I was to pay
two groats a-week, and to board and sleep with a
young man who wanted a companion to make his
rent easier. I liked this; having found from experience,
that the great personage who had attached
himself to me, and was now become my greatest
terror among many surrounding evils, generally
haunted me when I was alone, keeping aloof from
all other society.
My fellow lodger came home in the evening, and
was glad at my coming. His name was Linton,
and I changed mine to Elliot. He was a flippant
unstable being, one to whom nothing appeared a
difficulty, in his own estimation, but who could effect
very little, after all. He was what is called
by some a compositor, in the Queen's printing
house, then conducted by a Mr. James Watson. In
the course of our conversation that night, I told
him that I was a first-rate classical scholar, and
would gladly turn my attention to some business
wherein my education might avail me something;
and that there was nothing would delight me so
much as an engagement in the Queen's printing office.
Linton made no difficulty in bringing about
that arrangement. His answer was. "Oo, gud sir,
you are the very man we want. Gud bless your
breast and your buttons, sir! Ay, that's neither
here nor there — That's all very well — Ha-ha-ha —
A byeword in the house, sir. But, as I was saying,
you are the very man we want — You will get any
money you like to ask, sir — Any money you like,
sir. God bless your buttons! — That's settled — All
done — Settled, settled — I'll do it, I'll do it — No
more about it; no more about it. Settled, settled."
The next day I went with him to the office, and
he presented me to Mr. Watson as the most wonderful
genius and scholar ever known. His recommendation
had little sway with Mr. Watson, who
only smiled at Linton's extravagancies, as one does
at the prattle of an infant. I sauntered about the
printing office for the space of two or three hours,
during which time Watson bustled about with
green spectacles on his nose, and took no heed of
me. But seeing that I still lingered, he addressed
me at length, in a civil gentlemanly way, and inquired
concerning my views. I satisfied him with
all my answers, in particular those to his questions
about the Latin and Greek languages; but when
he came to ask testimonials of my character and
acquirements, and found that I could produce none,
he viewed me with a jealous eye, and said he dreaded
I was some ne'er-do-weel, run from my parents or
guardians, and he did not chuse to employ any such.
I said my parents were both dead; and that being
thereby deprived of the means of following out my
education, it behoved me to apply to some business
in which my education might be of some use
to me. He said he would take me into the office,
and pay me according to the business I performed,
and the manner in which I deported myself; but
he could take no man into her Majesty's printing
office upon a regular engagement, who could not
produce the most respectable references with regard
to morals.
I could not but despise the man in my heart who
laid such a stress upon morals, leaving grace out of
the question; and viewed it as a deplorable instance
of human depravity and self conceit; but for all
that, I was obliged to accept of his terms, for I had
an inward thirst and longing to distinguish myself
in the great cause of religion, and I thought if once
I could print my own works, how I would astonish
mankind, and confound their self wisdom and their
esteemed morality — blow up the idea of any dependence
on good works, and morality, forsooth!
And I weened that I might thus get me a name
even higher than if I had been made a general of
the Czar Peter's troops against the infidels.
I attended the office some hours every day, but
got not much encouragement, though I was eager
to learn every thing, and could soon have set
types considerably well. It was here that I first
conceived the idea of writing this journal, and having
it printed, and applied to Mr. Watson to print
it for me, telling him it was a religious parable
such as the Pilgrim's Progress. He advised me to
print it close, and make it a pamphlet, and then if
it did not sell, it would not cost me much; but
that religious pamphlets, especially if they had a
shade of allegory in them, were the very rage of
the day. I put my work to the press, and wrote
early and late; and encouraging my companion to
work at odd hours, and on Sundays, before the
press-work of the second sheet was begun, we had
the work all in types, corrected, and a clean copy
thrown off for farther revisal. The first sheet was
wrought off; and I never shall forget how my heart
exulted when at the printing house this day, I saw
what numbers of my works were to go abroad among
mankind, and I determined with myself that I
would not put the Border name of Elliot, which I
had assumed, to the work.
Thus far have my History and Confessions been
I must now furnish my Christian readers with a
key to the process, management, and winding up of
the whole matter; which I propose, by the assistance
of God, to limit to a very few pages.
Chesters, July 27, 1712. — My hopes and prospects
are a wreck. My precious journal is lost!
consigned to the flames! My enemy hath found
me out, and there is no hope of peace or rest for
me on this side the grave.
In the beginning of the last week, my fellow lodger
came home, running in a great panic, and told
me a story of the devil having appeared twice in
the printing house, assisting the workmen at the
printing of my book, and that some of them had
been frightened out of their wits. That the story was
told to Mr. Watson, who till that time had never
paid any attention to the treatise, but who, out of
curiosity, began and read a part of it, and thereupon
flew into a great rage, called my work a medley
of lies and blasphemy, and ordered the whole to
be consigned to the flames, blaming his foreman, and
all connected with the press, for letting a work
go so far, that was enough to bring down the vengeance
of heaven on the concern.
If ever I shed tears through perfect bitterness of
spirit it was at that time, but I hope it was more
for the ignorance and folly of my countrymen than
the overthrow of my own hopes. But my attention
was suddenly aroused to other matters, by Linton
mentioning that it was said by some in the office
the devil had inquired for me.
"Surely you are not such a fool," said I, "as
to believe that the devil really was in the printing
"Oo, gud bless you sir! saw him myself, gave him
a nod, and good-day. Rather a gentlemanly personage
— Green Circassian hunting coat and turban
— Like a foreigner — Has the power of vanishing in
one moment though — Rather a suspicious circumstance
that. Otherwise, his appearance not much
against him."
If the former intelligence thrilled me with grief,
this did so with terror. I perceived who the personage
was that had visited the printing house in
order to further the progress of my work; and at
the approach of every person to our lodgings, I from
that instant trembled every bone, lest it should be
my elevated and dreaded friend. I could not say
I had ever received an office at his hand that was
not friendly, yet these offices had been of a strange
tendency; and the horror with which I now regarded
him was unaccountable to myself. It was
beyond description, conception, or the soul of man
to bear. I took my printed sheets, the only copy of
my unfinished work existing; and, on pretence of
going straight to Mr. Watson's office, decamped
from my lodgings at Portsburgh a little before the.
fall of evening, and took the road towards England.
As soon as I got clear of the city, I ran with a
velocity I knew not before I had been capable of.
I flew out the way towards Dalkeith so swiftly, that
I often lost sight of the ground, and I said to myself,
"O that I had the wings of a dove, that I
might fly to the farthest corners of the earth, to
hide me from those against whom I have no power
to stand!"
I travelled all that night and the next morning,
exerting myself beyond my power; and about noon
the following day I went into a yeoman's house,
the name of which was Ellanshaws, and requested
of the people a couch of any sort to lie down on, for
I was ill, and could not proceed on my journey.
They showed me to a stable-loft where there were two
beds, on one of which I laid me down; and, falling
into a sound sleep, I did not awake till the evening,
that other three men came from the fields to
sleep in the same place, one of whom lay down beside
me, at which I was exceedingly glad. They
fell all sound asleep, and I was terribly alarmed
at a conversation I overheard somewhere outside
the stable. I could not make out a sentence, but
trembled to think I knew one of the voices at least,
and rather than not be mistaken, I would that any
man had run me through with a sword. I fell into
a cold sweat, and once thought of instantly
putting hand to my own life, as my only means
of relief, (May the rash and sinful thought be in
mercy forgiven!) when I heard as it were two persons
at the door, contending, as I thought, about
their right and interest in me. That the one was
forcibly preventing the admission of the other, I
could hear distinctly, and their language was mixed
with something dreadful and mysterious. In
an agony of terror, I awakened my snoring companion
with great difficulty, and asked him, in a
low whisper, who these were at the door? The man
lay silent, and listening, till fairly awake, and then
asked if I had heard any thing? I said I had
heard strange voices contending at the door.
"Then I can tell you, lad, it has been something
neither good nor canny," said he: "It's no for
naething that our horses are snorking that gate."
For the first time, I remarked that the animals
were snorting and rearing as if they wished to break
through the house. The man called to them by
their names, and ordered them to be quiet; but
they raged still the more furiously. He then roused
his drowsy companions, who were alike alarmed at
the panic of the horses, all of them declaring that
they had never seen either Mause or Jolly start in
their lives before. My bed-fellow and another then
ventured down the ladder, and I heard one of them
then saying, "Lord be wi' us! What can be i' the
house? The sweat's rinning off the poor beasts like
They agreed to sally out together, and if possible
to reach the kitchen and bring a light. I was glad
at this, but not so much so when I heard the one
man saying to the other, in a whisper, "I wish
that stranger man may be canny enough."
"God kens!" said the other: "It doesnae look
unco weel."
The lad in the other bed, hearing this, set up
his head in manifest affright as the other two departed
for the kitchen; and, I believe, he would
have been glad to have been in their company.
This lad was next the ladder, at which I was extremely
glad, for had he not been there, the world
should not have induced me to wait the return of
these two men. They were not well gone, before I
heard another distinctly enter the stable, and come
towards the ladder. The lad who was sitting up
in his bed, intent on the watch, called out, "Wha's
that there? Walker, is that you? Purdie, I say,
is it you?"
The darkling intruder paused for a few moments,
and then came towards the foot of the ladder. The
horses broke loose, and snorting and neighing for
terror, raged through the house. In all my life I
never heard so frightful a commotion. The being
that occasioned it all, now began to mount the
ladder toward our loft, on which the lad in the bed
next the ladder sprung from his couch, crying
out, "the L—d A—y preserve us! what can
it be?" With that he sped across the loft, and by
my bed, praying lustily all the way; and, throwing
himself from the other end of the loft into a
manger, he darted, naked as he was, through among
the furious horses, and making the door, that stood
open, in a moment he vanished and left me in the
lurch. Powerless with terror, and calling out fearfully,
I tried to follow his example; but not knowing
the situation of the places with regard to one
another, I missed the manger, and fell on the pavement
in one of the stalls. I was both stunned and
lamed on the knee; but terror prevailing, I got up
and tried to escape. It was out of my power; for
there were divisions and cross divisions in the
house, and mad horses smashing every thing before
them, so that I knew not so much as on what
side of the house the door was. Two or three
times was I knocked down by the animals, but all
the while I never stinted crying out with all my
power. At length, I was seized by the throat and
hair of the head, and dragged away, I wist not
whither. My voice was now laid, and all my
powers, both mental and bodily, totally overcome;
and I remember no more till I found myself lying
naked on the kitchen table of the farm house, and
something like a horse's rug thrown over me. The
only hint that I got from the people of the house
on coming to myself was, that my absence would
be good company; and that they had got me in a
woful state, one which they did not chuse to describe,
or hear described.
As soon as day-light appeared, I was packed
about my business, with the hisses and execrations
of the yeoman's family, who viewed me as a being
to be shunned, ascribing to me the visitations of
that unholy night. Again was I on my way southward,
as lonely, hopeless, and degraded a being as
was to be found on life's weary round. As I limped
out the way, I wept, thinking of what I might
have been, and what I really had become: of my
high and flourishing hopes, when I set out as the
avenger of God on the sinful children of men; of
all that I had dared for the exaltation and progress
of the truth; and it was with great difficulty that
my faith remained unshaken, yet was I preserved
from that sin, and comforted myself with the certainty,
that the believer's progress through life is
one of warfare and suffering.
My case was indeed a pitiable one. I was lame,
hungry, fatigued, and my resources on the very eve
of being exhausted: Yet these were but secondary
miseries, and hardly worthy of a thought, compared
with those I suffered inwardly. I not only
looked around me with terror at every one that approached,
but I was become a terror to myself; or
rather, my body and soul were become terrors to
each other; and, had it been possible, I felt as if
they would have gone to war. I dared not look at
my face in a glass, for I shuddered at my own image
and likeness. I dreaded the dawning, and
trembled at the approach of night, nor was there
one thing in nature that afforded me the least delight.

In this deplorable state of body and mind, was
I jogging on towards the Tweed, by the side of
the small river called Ellan, when, just at the narrowest
part of the glen, whom should I meet full in
the face, but the very being in all the universe of
God I would the most gladly have shunned. I had
no power to fly from him, neither durst I, for the
spirit within me, accuse him of falsehood, and renounce
his fellowship. I stood before him like a
condemned criminal, staring him in the face, ready
to be winded, twisted, and tormented as he pleased.
He regarded me with a sad and solemn look.
How changed was now that majestic countenance,
to one of haggard despair — changed in all save the
extraordinary likeness to my late brother, a resemblance
which misfortune and despair tended only to
heighten. There were no kind greetings passed
between us at meeting, like those which pass between
the men of the world; he looked on me with
eyes that froze the currents of my blood, but spoke
not, till I assumed as much courage as to articulate
— "You here! I hope you have brought me
tidings of comfort?"
"Tidings of despair!" said he. "But such
tidings as the timid and the ungrateful deserve,
and have reason to expect. You are an outlaw,
and a vagabond in your country, and a high reward
is offered for your apprehension. The enraged
populace have burnt your house, and all that is
within it; and the farmers on the land bless themselves
at being rid of you. So fare it with every
one who puts his hand to the great work of man's
restoration to freedom, and draweth back, contemning
the light that is within him! Your enormities
caused me to leave you to yourself for a season,
and you see what the issue has been. You
have given some evil ones power over you, who long
to devour you, both soul and body, and it has required
all my power and influence to save you.
Had it not been for my hand, you had been torn in
pieces last night; but for once I prevailed. We
must leave this land forthwith, for here there is
neither peace, safety, nor comfort for us. Do you
now, and here, pledge yourself to one who has so
often saved your life, and has put his own at stake
to do so? Do you pledge yourself that you will
henceforth be guided by my counsel, and follow me
whithersoever I chuse to lead?"
"I have always been swayed by your counsel,"
said I, "and for your sake, principally, am I sorry,
that all our measures have proved abortive. But
I hope still to be useful in my native isle, therefore
let me plead that your highness will abandon a poor
despised and outcast wretch to his fate, and betake
you to your realms, where your presence cannot but
be greatly wanted."
"Would that I could do so!" said he wofully.
"But to talk of that is to talk of an impossibility.
I am wedded to you so closely, that I feel as if I
were the same person. Our essences are one, our
bodies and spirits being united, so, that I am drawn
towards you as by magnetism, and wherever you
are, there must my presence be with you."
Perceiving how this assurance affected me, he
began to chide me most bitterly for my ingratitude;
and then he assumed such looks, that it was
impossible for me longer to bear them; therefore I
staggered out the way, begging and beseeching of
him to give me up to my fate, and hardly knowing
what I said; for it struck me, that, with all his
assumed appearance of misery and wretchedness,
there were traits of exultation in his hideous countenance,
manifesting a secret and inward joy at my
utter despair.
It was long before I durst look over my shoulder,
but when I did so, I perceived this ruined and
debased potentate coming slowly on the same path,
and I prayed that the lord would hide me in the
bowels of the earth, or depths of the sea. When
I crossed the Tweed, I perceived him still a little
behind me; and my despair being then at its
height, I cursed the time I first met with such a
tormentor; though, on a little recollection it occurred,
that it was at that blessed time when I was
solemnly dedicated to the Lord, and assured of my
final election, and confirmation, by an eternal decree
never to be annulled. This being my sole and
only comfort, I recalled my curse upon the time,
and repented me of my rashness.
After crossing the Tweed, I saw no more of my
persecutor that day, and had hopes that he had left
me for a season; but, alas, what hope was there of
my relief after the declaration I had so lately heard!
I took up my lodgings that night in a small miserable
inn in the village of Ancrum, of which the
people seemed alike poor and ignorant. Before
going to bed, I asked if it was customary with them
to have family worship of evenings? The man
answered, that they were so hard set with the world,
they often could not get time, but if I would be so
kind as officiate they would be much obliged to me.
I accepted the invitation, being afraid to go to rest
lest the commotions of the foregoing night might
be renewed, and continued the worship as long as in
decency I could. The poor people thanked me,
hoped my prayers would be heard both on their
account and my own, seemed much taken with my
abilities, and wondered how a man of my powerful
eloquence chanced to be wandering about in a condition
so forlorn. I said I was a poor student of
theology, on my way to Oxford. They stared at
one another with expressions of wonder, disappointment,
and fear. I afterwards came to learn, that
the term theology was by them quite misunderstood,
and that they had some crude conceptions that nothing
was taught at Oxford but the black arts,
which ridiculous idea prevailed over all the south
of Scotland. For the present I could not understand
what the people meant, and less so, when
the man asked me, with deep concern, "If I was
serious in my intentions of going to Oxford? He
hoped not, and that I would be better guided."
I said my education wanted finishing; — but he
remarked, that the Oxford arts were a bad finish
for a religious man's education. — Finally, I requested
him to sleep with me, or in my room all the
night, as I wanted some serious and religious conversation
with him, and likewise to convince him
that the study of the fine arts, though not absolutely
necessary, were not incompatible with the character
of a Christian divine. He shook his head,
and wondered how I could call them fine arts —
hoped I did not mean to convince him by any ocular
demonstration, and at length reluctantly condescended
to sleep with me, and let the lass and
wife sleep together for one night. I believe he
would have declined it, had it not been some hints
from his wife, stating, that it was a good arrangement,
by which I understood there were only two
beds in the house, and that when I was preferred
to the lass's bed, she had one to shift for.
The landlord and I accordingly retired to our
homely bed, and conversed for some time about indifferent
matters, till he fell sound asleep. Not so
with me: I had that within which would not suffer
me to close my eyes; and about the dead of
night, I again heard the same noises and contention
begin outside the house, as I had heard the
night before; and again I heard it was about a
sovereign and peculiar right in me. At one time
the noise was on the top of the house, straight
above our bed, as if the one party were breaking
through the roof, and the other forcibly preventing
it; at another time it was at the door, and at a third
time at the window; but still mine host lay sound
by my side, and did not waken. I was seized with
terrors indefinable, and prayed fervently, but did
not attempt rousing my sleeping companion until I
saw if no better could be done. The women, however,
were alarmed, and, rushing into our apartment,
exclaimed that all the devils in hell were besieging
the house. Then, indeed, the landlord
awoke, and it was time for him, for the tumult had
increased to such a degree, that it shook the house
to its foundations, being louder and more furious
than I could have conceived the heat of battle to
be when the volleys of artillery are mixed with
groans, shouts, and blasphemous cursing. It thundered
and lightened; and there were screams,
groans, laughter, and execrations, all intermingled.
I lay trembling and bathed in a cold perspiration,
but was soon obliged to bestir myself, the inmates
attacking me one after the other.
"O, Tam Douglas! Tam Douglas! haste ye
an' rise out fra-yont that incarnal devil!" cried the
wife: "Ye are in ayont the auld ane himsel, for
our lass Tibbie saw his cloven cloots last night."
"Lord forbid!" roared Tam Douglas, and darted
over the bed like a flying fish. Then, hearing
the unearthly tumult with which he was surrounded,
he returned to the side of the bed, and addressed
me thus, with long and fearful intervals:
"If ye be the deil, rise up, an' depart in peace
out o' this house — afore the bedstrae take kindling
about ye, an' than it 'll maybe be the waur for ye —
Get up — an' gang awa out amang your cronies, like
a good — lad — There's nae body here wishes you
ony ill — D'ye hear me?"
"Friend," said I, "no Christian would turn
out a fellow creature on such a night as this, and
in the midst of such a commotion of the villagers."
"Na, if ye be a mortal man," said he, "which
I rather think, from the use you made of the holy
book — Nane o' your practical jokes on strangers
an' honest foks. These are some o' your Oxford
tricks, an' I'll thank you to be ower wi' them. — Gracious
heaven, they are brikkin through the house
at a' the four corners at the same time!"
The lass Tibby, seeing the innkeeper was not
going to prevail with me to rise, flew toward the bed
in desperation, and seizing me by the waist, soon
landed me on the floor, saying: "Be ye deil, be
ye chiel, ye's no lie there till baith the house an us
be swallowed up!"
Her master and mistress applauding the deed, I
was obliged to attempt dressing myself, a task to
which my powers were quite inadequate in the state
I was in, but I was readily assisted by every one
of the three; and as soon as they got my clothes
thrust on in a loose way, they shut their eyes lest
they should see what might drive them distracted,
and thrust me out to the street, cursing me, and
calling on the fiends to take their prey and begone.
The scene that ensued is neither to be described,
nor believed, if it were. I was momently surrounded
by a number of hideous fiends, who gnashed on
me with their teeth, and clenched their crimson
paws in my face; and at the same instant I was
seized by the collar of my coat behind, by my dreaded
and devoted friend, who pushed me on, and,
with his gilded rapier waving and brandishing
around me, defended me against all their united
attacks. Horrible as my assailants were in appearance,
(and they had all monstrous shapes,) I felt
that I would rather have fallen into their hands,
than be thus led away captive by my defender at
his will and pleasure, without having the right or
power to say my life, or any part of my will, was
my own. I could not even thank him for his potent
guardianship, but hung down my head, and
moved on I knew not whither, like a criminal led
to execution, and still the infernal combat continued,
till about the dawning, at which time I looked
up, and all the fiends were expelled but one, who
kept at a distance; and still my persecutor and defender
pushed me by the neck before him.
At length he desired me to sit down and take
some rest, with which I complied, for I had great
need of it, and wanted the power to withstand what
he desired. There, for a whole morning did he
detain me, tormenting me with reflections on the
past, and pointing out the horrors of the future,
until a thousand times I wished myself non-existent.
"I have attached myself to your wayward
fortune," said he; "and it has been my ruin as well
as thine. Ungrateful as you are, I cannot give
you up to be devoured; but this is a life that it is
impossible to brook longer. Since our hopes are
blasted in this world, and all our schemes of grandeur
overthrown; and since our everlasting destiny
is settled by a decree which no act of ours can
invalidate, let us fall by our own hands, or by the
hands of each other; die like heroes; and, throwing
off this frame of dross and corruption, mingle
with the pure ethereal essence of existence, from
which we derived our being."
I shuddered at a view of the dreadful alternative,
yet was obliged to confess that in my present
circumstances existence was not to be borne. It
was in vain that I reasoned on the sinfulness of
the deed, and on its damning nature; he made me
condemn myself out of my own mouth, by allowing
the absolute nature of justifying grace, and
the impossibility of the elect ever falling from the
faith, or the glorious end to which they were called;
and then he said, this granted, self-destruction
was the act of a hero, and none but a coward would
shrink from it, to suffer a hundred times more every
day and night that passed over his head.
I said I was still contented to be that coward;
and all that I begged of him was, to leave me to
my fortune for a season, and to the just judgment
of my creator; but he said his word and honour
were engaged on my behoof, and these, in such a
case, were not to be violated. "If you will not
pity yourself, have pity on me," added he: "turn
your eyes on me, and behold to what I am reduced."

Involuntarily did I turn round at the request,
and caught a half glance of his features. May no
eye destined to reflect the beauties of the New Jerusalem
inward upon the beatific soul, behold such
a sight as mine then beheld! My immortal spirit,
blood, and bones, were all withered at the blasting
sight; and I arose and withdrew, with groanings
which the pangs of death shall never wring from
Not daring to look behind me, I crept on my
way, and that night reached this hamlet on the
Scottish border; and being grown reckless of danger,
and hardened to scenes of horror, I took up
my lodging with a poor hind, who is a widower,
and who could only accommodate me with a bed
of rushes at his fire-side. At midnight I heard
some strange sounds, too much resembling those
to which I had of late been inured; but they
kept at a distance, and I was soon persuaded that
there was a power protected that house superior to
those that contended for, or had the mastery over
me. Overjoyed at finding such an asylum, I remained
in the humble cot. This is the third day I
have lived under the roof, freed of my hellish assailants,
spending my time in prayer, and writing
out this my journal, which I have fashioned to
stick in with my printed work, and to which I intend
to add portions while I remain in this pilgrimage
state, which, I find too well, cannot be long.
August 3, 1712. — This morning the hind has
brought me word from Redesdale, whither he had
been for coals, that a stranger gentleman had been
traversing that country, making the most earnest
inquiries after me, or one of the same appearance;
and from the description that he brought of this
stranger, I could easily perceive who it was. Rejoicing
that my tormentor has lost traces of me for
once, I am making haste to leave my asylum, on
pretence of following this stranger, but in reality
to conceal myself still more completely from his
search. Perhaps this may be the last sentence
ever I am destined to write. If so, farewell Christian
reader! May God grant to thee a happier destiny
than has been allotted to me here on earth, and
the same assurance of acceptance above! Amen.
Ault-Righ, August 24, 1712. — Here am I, set
down on the open moor to add one sentence more
to my woful journal; and then, farewell all beneath
the sun!
On leaving the hind's cottage on the Border, I
basted to the north-west, because in that quarter I
perceived the highest and wildest hills before me
As I crossed the mountains above Hawick, I exchanged
clothes with a poor homely shepherd, whom
I found lying on a hill side, singing to himself
some woful love ditty. He was glad of the change,
and proud of his saintly apparel; and I was no
less delighted with mine, by which I now supposed
myself completely disguised; and I found moreover
that in this garb of a common shepherd I was
made welcome in every house. I slept the first
night in a farm-house nigh to the church of Roberton,
without hearing or seeing aught extraordinary;
yet I observed next morning that all the servants
kept aloof from me, and regarded me with
looks of aversion. The next night I came to this
house, where the farmer engaged me as a shepherd;
and finding him a kind, worthy, and religious man,
I accepted of his terms with great gladness. I had
not, however, gone many times to the sheep, before
all the rest of the shepherds told my master, that I
knew nothing about herding, and begged of him
to dismiss me. He perceived too well the truth of
their intelligence; but being much taken with my
learning, and religious conversation, he would not
put me away, but set me to herd his cattle.
It was lucky for me, that before I came here, a
report had prevailed, perhaps for an age, that this
farm-house was haunted at certain seasons by a
ghost. I say it was lucky for me, for I had not been
in it many days before the same appalling noises
began to prevail around me about midnight, often
continuing till near the dawning. Still they kept
aloof, and without doors; for this gentleman's
house, like the cottage I was in formerly, seemed
to be a sanctuary from all demoniacal power. He
appears to be a good man and a just, and mocks at
the idea of supernatural agency, and he either does
not hear these persecuting spirits, or will not acknowledge
it, though of late he appears much perturbed.

The consternation of the menials has been extreme.
They ascribe all to the ghost, and tell
frightful stories of murders having been committed
there long ago. Of late, however, they are beginning
to suspect that it is I that am haunted;
and as I have never given them any satisfactory
account of myself, they are whispering that I am a
murderer, and haunted by the spirits of those I have
August 30. — This day I have been informed,
that I am to be banished the dwelling-house by
night, and to sleep in an out-house by myself, to
try if the family can get any rest when freed of my
presence. I have peremptorily refused acquiescence,
on which my master's brother struck me,
and kicked me with his foot. My body being quite
exhausted by suffering, I am grown weak and feeble
both in mind and bodily frame, and actually unable
to resent any insult or injury. I am the child of
earthly misery and despair, if ever there was one
existent. My master is still my friend; but there
are so many masters here, and every one of them
alike harsh to me, that I wish myself in my grave
every hour of the day. If I am driven from the
family sanctuary by night, I know I shall be torn
in pieces before morning; and then who will deign
or dare to gather up my mangled limbs, and give
them honoured burial.
My last hour is arrived: I see my tormentor
once more approaching me in this wild. Oh, that
the earth would swallow me up, or the hill fall and
cover me! Farewell for ever!
September 7, 1712. — My devoted, princely,
but sanguine friend, has been with me again and
again. My time is expired, and I find a relief beyond
measure, for he has fully convinced me that
no act of mine can mar the eternal counsel, or in
the smallest degree alter or extenuate one event
which was decreed before the foundations of the
world were laid. He said he had watched over me
with the greatest anxiety, but perceiving my rooted
aversion towards him, he had forborn troubling me
with his presence. But now, seeing that I was
certainly to be driven from my sanctuary that night,
and that there would be a number of infernals
watching to make a prey of my body, he came to
caution me not to despair, for that he would protect
me at all risks, if the power remained with
him. He then repeated an ejaculatory prayer,
which I was to pronounce, if in great extremity. I
objected to the words as equivocal, and susceptible
of being rendered in a meaning perfectly dreadful;
but he reasoned against this, and all reasoning with
him is to no purpose. He said he did not ask me
to repeat the words, unless greatly straitened; and
that I saw his strength and power giving way, and
when perhaps nothing else could save me.
The dreaded hour of night arrived; and, as he
said, I was expelled from the family residence, and
ordered to a byre, or cow-house, that stood parallel
with the dwelling-house behind, where, on a divot
loft, my humble bedstead stood, and the cattle
grunted and puffed below me. How unlike the
splendid halls of Dalcastle! And to what I am now
reduced, let the reflecting reader judge. Lord,
thou knowest all that I have done for thy cause on
earth! Why then art thou laying thy hand so sore
upon me? Why hast thou set me as a butt of thy
malice? But thy will must be done! Thou wilt
repay me in a better world. Amen.
September 8. — My first night of trial in this
place is overpast! Would that it were the last that
I should ever see in this detested world! If the
horrors of hell are equal to those have suffered,
eternity will be of short duration there, for no created
energy can support them for one single month,
or week. I have been buffeted as never living
creature was. My vitals have all been torn, and
every faculty and feeling of my soul racked, and
tormented into callous insensibility. I was even
hung by the locks over a yawning chasm, to which
I could perceive no bottom, and then — not till
then, did I repeat the tremendous prayer! — I was
instantly at liberty; and what I now am, the Almighty
knows! Amen.
September 18, 1712. — Still am I living, though
liker to a vision than a human being; but this is
my last day of mortal existence. Unable to resist
any longer, I pledged myself to my devoted friend,
that on this day we should die together, and trust
to the charity of the children of men for a grave.
I am solemnly pledged; and though I dared to repent,
I am aware he will not be gainsaid, for he is
raging with despair at his fallen and decayed majesty,
and there is some miserable comfort in the
idea that my tormentor shall fall with me. Farewell,
world, with all thy miseries; for comforts or enjoyments
hast thou none! Farewell, woman, whom
I have despised and shunned; and man, whom I have
hated; whom, nevertheless, I desire to leave in
charity! And thou, sun, bright emblem of a far
brighter effulgence, I bid farewell to thee also!
I do not now take my last look of thee, for to thy
glorious orb shall a poor suicide's last earthly look
be raised. But, ah! who is yon that I see approaching
furiously — his stern face blackened with
horrid despair! My hour is at hand. — Almighty
God, what is this that I am about to do! The
hour of repentance is past, and now my fate is inevitable.
— Amen, for ever! I will now seal up
my little book, and conceal it; and cursed be he
who trieth to alter or amend!
WHAT can this work be? Sure, you will say, it
must be an allegory; or (as the writer calls it) a
religious PARABLE, showing the dreadful danger of
self-righteousness? I cannot tell. Attend to the sequel:
which is a thing so extraordinary, so unprecedented,
and so far out of the common course of human
events, that if there were not hundreds of living
witnesses to attest the truth of it, I would not bid
any rational being believe it.
In the first place, take the following extract from
an authentic letter, published in Blackwood's Magazine
for August, 1823.
"On the top of a wild height called Cowanscroft,
where the lands of three proprietors meet all
at one point, there has been for long and many
as the grave of a suicide marked out by a stone
standing at the head, and another at the feet. Often
have I stood musing over it myself, when a
shepherd on one of the farms, of which it formed
the extreme boundary, and thinking what could induce
a young man, who had scarcely reached the
prime of life, to brave his Maker, and rush into his
presence by an act of his own erring hand, and one
so unnatural and preposterous. But it never once
occurred to me, as an object of curiosity, to dig up
the mouldering bones of the culprit, which I considered
as the most revolting of all objects. The
thing was, however, done last month, and a discovery
made of one of the greatest natural phenomena
that I have heard of in this country.
"The little traditionary history that remains of
this unfortunate youth, is altogether a singular one.
He was not a native of the place, nor would he ever
tell from what place he came; but he was remarkable
for a deep, thoughtful, and sullen disposition.
There was nothing against his character that any
body knew of here, and he had been a considerable
time in the place. The last service he was in was
with a Mr. Anderson of Eltrive, (Ault-Righ, the
King's burn,) who died about 100 years ago, and
who had hired him during the summer to herd a
stock of young cattle in Eltrive Hope. It happened
one day in the month of September, that
James Anderson, his master's son, went with this
young man to the Hope to divert himself. The
herd had his dinner along with him, and about
one o'clock, when the boy proposed going home,
the former pressed him very hard to stay and take
share of his dinner; but the boy refused, for fear
his parents might be alarmed about him, and said
he would go home: on which the herd said to him,
'Then, if ye winna stay with me, James, ye may
depend on't I'll cut my throat afore ye come back
"I have heard it likewise reported, but only by
one person, that there had been some things stolen
out of his master's house a good while before, and
that the boy had discovered a silver knife and fork,
that was a part of the stolen property, in the herd's
possession that day, and that it was this discovery
that drove him to despair.
"The boy did not return to the Hope that afternoon;
and, before evening, a man coming in at the
pass called The Hart Loup, with a drove of lambs,
on the way for Edinburgh, perceived something
like a man standing in a strange frightful position
at the side of one of Eldinhope hay-ricks. The driver's
attention was riveted on this strange uncouth
figure, and as the drove-road passed at no great
distance from the spot, he first called, but receiving
no answer, he went up to the spot, and behold
it was the above-mentioned young man, who had
hung himself in the hay rope that was tying down
the rick.
'This was accounted a great wonder; and every
one said, if the devil had not assisted him it was impossible
the thing could have been done; for, in
general, these ropes are so brittle, being made of
green hay, that they will scarcely bear to be bound
over the rick. And the more to horrify the good,
people of this neighbourhood, the driver said, when
he first came in view, he could almost give his oath
that he saw two people busily engaged at the hay--
rick, going round it and round it, and he thought
they were dressing it.
"If this asseveration approximated at all to truth,
it makes this evident at least, that the unfortunate
young man had hanged himself after the man with
the lambs came in view. He was, however, quite
dead when he cut him down. He had fastened
two of the old hay-ropes at the bottom of the rick
on one side, (indeed they are all fastened so when
first laid on,) so that he had nothing to do but to
loosen two of the ends on the other side. These
he had tied in a knot round his neck, and then
slackening his knees, and letting himself down
gradually, till the hay-rope bore all his weight, he
had contrived to put an end to his existence in that
way. Now the fact is, that if you try all the ropes
that are thrown over all the outfield hay-ricks in
Scotland, there is not one among a thousand of them
will hang a colley dog; so that the manner of this
wretch's death was rather a singular circumstance.
"Early next morning, Mr. Anderson's servants
went reluctantly away, and, taking an old blanket
with them for a winding sheet, they rolled up the
body of the deceased, first in his own plaid, letting
the hay-rope still remain about his neck, and then
rolling the old blanket over all, they bore the loathed
remains away to the distance of three miles or so,
on spokes, to the top of Cowan's-Croft, at the very
point where the Duke of Buccleuch's land, the
Laird of Drummelzier's, and Lord Napier's, meet,
and there they buried him, with all that he had on
and about him, silver knife and fork and altogether.
Thus far went tradition, and no one ever disputed
one jot of the disgusting oral tale.
"A nephew of that Mr. Anderson's who was with
the hapless youth that day he died, says, that, as
far as he can gather from the relations of friends
that he remembers, and of that same uncle in particular,
it is one hundred and five years next month,
(that is September, 1823,) since that event happened;
and I think it likely that this gentleman's
information is correct. But sundry other people,
much older than he, whom I have consulted, pretend
that it is six or seven years more. They say
they have heard that Mr. James Anderson was
then a boy ten years of age; that he lived to an
old age, upwards of fourscore, and it is two and
forty years since he died. Whichever way it may
be, it was about that period some way, of that there
is no doubt.
"It so happened, that two young men, William
Shiel and W. Sword, were out, on an adjoining
height, this summer, casting peats, and it came into
their heads to open this grave in the wilderness,
and see if there were any of the bones of the suicide
of former ages and centuries remaining. They
did so, but opened only one half of the grave, beginning
at the head and about the middle at the
same time. It was not long till they came upon
the old blanket —I think they said not much more
than a foot from the surface. They tore that open,
and there was the hay rope lying stretched down
alongst his breast, so fresh that they saw at first
sight that it was made of risp, a sort of long sword--
grass that grows about marshes and the sides of
lakes. One of the young men seized the rope and
pulled by it, but the old enchantment of the devil
remained, — it would not break; and so he pulled
and pulled at it, till behold the body came up into
a sitting posture, with a broad blue bonnet on
its head, and its plaid around it, all as fresh as that
day it was laid in! I never heard of a preservation
so wonderful, if it be true as was related to
me, for still I have not had the curiosity to go and
view the body myself. The features were all so
plain, that an acquaintance might easily have known
him. One of the lads gripped the face of the
corpse with his finger and thumb, and the cheeks
felt quite soft and fleshy, but the dimples remained
and did not spring out again. He had fine yellow
hair, about nine inches long; but not a hair of
it could they pull out till they cut part of it off
with a knife. They also cut off some portions of
his clothes, which were all quite fresh, and distributed
them among their acquaintances, sending a
portion to me, among the rest, to keep as natural
curiosities. Several gentlemen have in a manner
forced me to give them fragments of these enchanted
garments: I have, however, retained a small
portion for you, which I send along with this,
being a piece of his plaid, and another of his waistcoat
breast, which you will see are still as fresh as
that day they were laid in the grave.
"His broad blue bonnet was sent to Edinburgh
several weeks ago, to the great regret of some gentlemen
connected with the land, who wished to
have it for a keep-sake. For my part, fond as I
am of blue bonnets, and broad ones in particular,
I declare I durst not have worn that one. There
was nothing of the silver knife and fork discovered,
that I heard of, nor was it very likely it should:
but it would appear he had been very near run of
cash, which I daresay had been the cause of his
utter despair; for, on searching his pockets, nothing
was found but three old Scots halfpennies.
These young men meeting with another shepherd
afterwards, his curiosity was so much excited that
they went and digged up the curious remains a
second time, which was a pity, as it is likely that
by these exposures to the air, and from the impossibility
of burying it up again as closely as it was
before, the flesh will now fall to dust."
The letter from which the above is an extract,
is signed JAMES HOGG, and dated from Altrive
Lake, August 1st, 1823. It bears the stamp of
authenticity in every line; yet, so often had I been
hoaxed by the ingenious fancies displayed in that
Magazine, that when this relation met my eye, I
did not believe it; but from the moment that I
perused it, I half formed the resolution of investigating
these wonderful remains personally, if any
such existed; for, in the immediate vicinity of the
scene, as I supposed, I knew of more attractive metal
than the dilapidated remains of mouldering suicides.

Accordingly, having some business in Edinburgh
in September last, and being obliged to
wait a few days for the arrival of a friend from
London, I took that opportunity to pay a visit to
my townsman and fellow collegian, Mr. L—t of
C—d, advocate. I mentioned to him Hogg's
letter, asking him if the statement was founded at
all on truth. His answer was, "I suppose so. For
my part I never doubted the thing, having been
told that there has been a deal of talking about it
up in the Forest for some time past. But, God
knows! Hogg has imposed as ingenious lies on the
public ere now."
I said, if it was within reach, I should like exceedingly
to visit both the Shepherd and the Scots
mummy he had described. Mr. L—t assented
at the first proposal, saying he had no objections
to take a ride that length with me, and make the
fellow produce his credentials: That we would
have a delightful jaunt through a romantic and
now classical country, and some good sport into
the bargain, provided he could procure a horse for
me, from his father-in-law, next day. He sent up
to a Mr. L—w to inquire, who returned for answer,
that there was an excellent pony at my service,
and that he himself would accompany us, being
obliged to attend a great sheep fair at Thirlestane;
and that he was certain the Shepherd would
be there likewise.
Mr. L—t said that was the very man we wanted
to make our party complete; and at an early
hour next morning we started for the ewe fair of
Thirlestane, taking Blackwood's Magazine for August
along with us. We rode through the ancient
royal burgh of Selkirk, — halted and corned our
horses at a romantic village, nigh to some deep
lions on the Ettrick, and reached the market
ground at Thirlestane-green a little before midday.
We soon found Hogg, standing near the
foot of the market, as he called it, beside a great
drove of paulies, a species of stock that I never
heard of before. They were small sheep, striped
on the backs with red chalk. Mr. L—t introduced
me to him as a great wool-stapler, come to
raise the price of that article; but he eyed me with
distrust, and turning his back on us, answered, "I
hae sell'd mine."
I followed, and spewing him the above-quoted
letter, said I was exceedingly curious to have a
look of these singular remains he had so ingeniously
described; but he only answered me with the
remark, that "It was a queer fancy for a woo-stappler
to tak."
His two friends then requested him to accompany
us to the spot, and to take some of his shepherds
with us to assist in raising the body; but
he spurned at the idea, saying, "Od bless ye, lad!
I hae ither matters to mind. I hae a' thae paulies
to sell, an' a' yon Highland stotts down on the
green every ane; an' then I hae ten scores o' yowes
to buy after, an' if I canna first sell my ain stock,
I canna buy nae ither body's. I hae mair ado
than I can manage the day, foreby ganging to
honk up hunder-year-auld banes."
Finding that we could make nothing of him, we
left him with his paulies, Highland stotts, grey
jacket, and broad blue bonnet, to go in search of some
other guide. L—w soon found one, for he seemed
acquainted with every person in the fair. We
got a fine old shepherd, named W—m B—e,
a great original, and a very obliging and civil man,
who asked no conditions but that we should not
speak of it, because he did not wish it to come to
his master's ears, that he had been engaged in sic a
profane thing. We promised strict secrecy; and
accompanied by another farmer, Mr. S—t, and
old B—e, we proceeded to the grave, which
B—e described as about a mile and a half distant
from the market ground.
We went into a shepherd's cot to get a drink of
milk, when I read to our guide Mr. Hogg's description,
asking him if he thought it correct? He
said there was hardly a bit o't correct, for the grave
was not on the hill of Cowan's-Croft, nor yet on the
point where three lairds' lands met, but on the top
of a hill called the Faw-Law, where there was no
land that was not the Duke of Buccleuch's within
a quarter of a mile. He added that it was a wonder
how the poet could be mistaken there, who once
herded the very ground where the grave is, and saw
both hills from his own window. Mr. L—w testified
great surprise at such a singular blunder, as
also how the body came not to be buried at the
meeting of three or four lairds' lands, which had
always been customary in the south of Scotland.
Our guide said he had always heard it reported,
that the Eltrive men, with Mr. David Anderson
at their head, had risen before day on the Monday
morning, it having been on the Sabbath day that
the man put down himself; and that they set out
with the intention of burying him on Cowan's--
Croft, where three marches met at a point. But
it having been an invariable rule to bury such lost
sinners before the rising of the sun, these five
men were overtaken by day-light, as they passed
the house of Berry-Knowe; and by the time they
reached the top of the Faw-Law, the sun was beginning
to skair the east. On this they laid down
the body, and digged a deep grave with all expedition;
but when they had done, it was too short,
and the body being stiff, it would not go down, on
which Mr. David Anderson looking to the east,
and perceiving that the sun would be up on them
in a few minutes, set his foot on the suicide's brow,
and tramped down his head into the grave with
his iron-heeled shoe, until his nose and skull crashed
again, and at the same time uttered a terrible
curse on the wretch who had disgraced the family,
and given them all this trouble. This anecdote,
our guide said, he had heard when a boy, from
the mouth of Robert Laidlaw, one of the five men
who buried the body.
We soon reached the spot, and I confess I felt
a singular sensation, when I saw the grey stone
standing at the head, and another at the feet, and
the one half of the grave manifestly new digged,
and closed up again as had been described. I
could still scarcely deem the thing to be a reality,
for the ground did not appear to be wet, but a kind
of dry rotten moss. On looking around, we found
some fragments of clothes, some teeth, and part of
a pocket-book, which had not been returned into the
grave, when the body had been last raised, for it
had been twice raised before this, but only from
the loins upward.
To work we fell with two spades, and soon cleared
away the whole of the covering. The part of
the grave that had been opened before, was filled
with mossy mortar, which impeded us exceedingly,
and entirely prevented a proper investigation of
the fore parts of the body. I will describe every
thing as I saw it before four respectable witnesses,
whose names I shall publish at large if permitted.
A number of the bones came up separately; for
with the constant flow of liquid stuff into the deep
grave, we could not see to preserve them in their
places. At length great loads of coarse clothes,
blanketing, plaiding, &c. appeared; we tried to
lift these regularly up, and on doing so, part of a
skeleton came up, but no flesh, save a little that
was hanging in dark flitters about the spine, but
which had no consistence; it was merely the appearance
of flesh without the substance. The head was
wanting; and I being very anxious to possess the
skull, the search was renewed among the mortar
and rags. We first found a part of the scalp, with
the long hair firm on it; which, on being cleaned,
is neither black nor fair, but of a darkish dusk, the
most common of any other colour. Soon afterwards
we found the skull, but it was not complete. A
spade had damaged it, and one of the temple quarters
was wanting. I am no phrenologist, not knowing
one organ from another, but I thought the
skull of that wretched man no study. If it was
particular for any thing, it was for a smooth, almost
perfect rotundity, with only a little protuberance
above the vent of the ear.
When we came to that part of the grave that had
never been opened before, the appearance of every
thing was quite different. There the remains lay
under a close vault of moss, and within a vacant
space; and I suppose, by the digging in the former
part of the grave, that part had been deepened,
and drawn the moisture away from this part,
for here all was perfect. The breeches still suited
the thigh, the stocking the leg, and the garters
were wrapt as neatly and as firm below the knee as
if they had been newly tied. The shoes were all
opened in the seams, the hemp having decayed, but
the soles, upper leathers, and wooden heels, which
were made of birch, were all as fresh as any of those
we wore. There was one thing I could not help
remarking, that in the inside of one of the shoes
there was a layer of cow's dung, about one eighth of
an inch thick, and in the hollow of the sole fully
one fourth of an inch. It was firm, green, and
fresh; and proved that he had been working in a
byre. His clothes were all of a singular ancient
cut, and no less singular in their texture. Their
durability certainly would have been prodigious;
for in thickness, coarseness, and strength, I never
saw any cloth in the smallest degree to equal them.
His coat was a frock coat, of a yellowish drab colour,
with wide sleeves. It is tweeled, milled, and thicker
than a carpet. I cut off two of the skirts and
brought them with me. His vest was of striped
serge, such as I have often seen worn by country
people. It was lined and backed with white stuff.
The breeches were a sort of striped plaiding, which
I never saw worn, but which our guide assured us
was very common in the country once, though,
from the old clothes which he had seen remaining
of it, he judged that it could not be less than 200
years since it was in fashion. His garters were of
worsted, and striped with black or blue; his stockings
gray, and wanting the feet. I brought samples
of all along with me. I have likewise now got possession
of the bonnet, which puzzles me most of all.
It is not conformable with the rest of the dress. It
is neither a broad bonnet, nor a Border bonnet; for
there is an open behind, for tying, which no genuine
Border bonnet, I am told, ever had. It seems
to have been a Highland bonnet, worn in a flat
way like a scone on the crown, such as is sometimes
still seen in the west of Scotland. All the limbs,
from the loins to the toes, seemed perfect and entire,
but they could not bear handling. Before we
got them returned again into the grave, they were
all shaken to pieces, except the thighs, which continued
to retain a kind of flabby form.
All his clothes that were sewed with linen yarn
were lying in separate portions, the thread having
rotten; but such as were sewed with worsted remained
perfectly firm and sound. Among such a
confusion, we had hard work to find out all his
pockets, and our guide supposed, that, after all, we
did not find above the half of them. In his vest
pocket was a long clasp knife, very sharp; the haft
was thin, and the scales shone as if there had been
silver inside. Mr. Sc—t took it with him, and
presented it to his neighbour, Mr. R—n of
W—n L—e, who still has it in his possession. We
found a comb, a gimblet, a vial, a small neat square
board, a pair of plated knee-buckles, and several
samples of cloth of different kinds, rolled neatly up
within one another. At length, while we were busy
on the search, Mr. L—t picked up a leathern case,
which seemed to have been wrapped round and round
by some ribbon, or cord, that had been rotten from
it, for the swaddling marks still remained. Both
L—w and B—e called out that "it was the
tobacco spleuchan, and a well-filled ane too;" but
on opening it out, we found, to our great astonishment,
that it contained a printed pamphlet. We
were all curious to see what sort of a pamphlet
such a person would read; what it could contain
that he seemed to have had such a care about? for
the slough in which it was rolled, was fine chamois
leather; what colour it had been, could not be
known. But the pamphlet was wrapped so close together,
and so damp, rotten, and yellow, that it
seemed one solid piece. We all concluded, from
some words that we could make out, that it was a
religious tract, but that it would be impossible to
make any thing of it. Mr. L—w remarked that
it was a great pity if a few sentences could not be
made out, for that it was a question what might be
contained in that little book; and then he requested
Mr. L—t to give it to me, as he had so many
things of literature and law to attend to, that he
would never think more of it. He replied, that
either of us were heartily welcome to it, for that he
had thought of returning it into the grave, if he
could have made out but a line or two, to have seen
what was its tendency.
"Grave, man!" exclaimed L—w, who speaks
excellent strong broad Scots: "My truly, but ye
grave weel! I wad esteem the contents o' that
spleuchan as the most precious treasure. I'll tell
you what it is, sir: I hae often wondered how it was
that this man's corpse has been miraculously preserved
frae decay, a hunder times langer than ony
other body's, or than even a tanner's. But now I
could wager a guinea, it has been for the preservation
o' that little book. And Lord kens what may
be in't! It will maybe reveal some mystery that
mankind disna ken naething about yet."
"If there be any mysteries in it," returned the
other, "it is not for your handling, my dear
friend, who are too much taken up about mysteries
already." And with these words he presented
the mysterious pamphlet to me. With very little
trouble, save that of a thorough drying, I unrolled
it all with ease, and found the very tract which I
have here ventured to lay before the public, part of
it in small bad print, and the remainder in manuscript.
The title page is written, and is as follows:

And, alongst the head, it is the same as given in
the present edition of the work. I altered the
title to A Self-justified Sinner, but my booksellers
did not approve of it; and there being a curse pronounced
by the writer on him that should dare to
alter or amend, I have let it stand as it is. Should
it be thought to attach discredit to any received
principle of our church, I am blameless. The
printed part ends at page 340, and the rest is in a
fine old hand, extremely, small and close. I have
ordered the printer to procure a fac-simile of it, to
be bound in with the volume.
With regard to the work itself, I dare not venture
a judgment, for I do not understand it. I
believe no person, man or woman, will ever peruse
it with the same attention that I have done, and
yet I confess that I do not comprehend the writer's
drift. It is certainly impossible that these scenes
could ever have occurred, that he describes as having
himself transacted. I think it may be possible
that he had some hand in the death of his
brother, and yet I am disposed greatly to doubt
it; and the numerous distorted traditions, &c. which
remain of that event, may be attributable to the work
having been printed and burnt, and of course the
story known to all the printers, with their families
and gossips. That the young Laird of Dalcastle
came by a violent death, there remains no doubt;
but that this wretch slew him, there is to me a good
deal. However, allowing this to have been the
case, I account all the rest either dreaming or madness;
or, as he says to Mr. Watson, a religious
parable, on purpose to illustrate something scarcely
tangible, but to which he seems to have attached
great weight. Were the relation at all consistent
with reason, it corresponds so minutely with
traditionary facts, that it could scarcely have missed
to have been received as authentic; but in this
day, and with the present generation, it will not go
down, that a man should be daily tempted by the
devil, in the semblance of a fellow-creature; and
at length lured to self-destruction, in the hopes
that this same fiend and tormentor was to suffer
and fall along with him. It was a bold theme
for an allegory, and would have spited that age
well had it been taken up by one fully qualified
for the task, which this writer was not. In short,
we must either conceive him not only the greatest
fool, but the greatest wretch, on whom was ever
stamped the form of humanity; or, that he was a
religious maniac, who wrote and wrote about a deluded
creature, till he arrived at that height of madness,
that he believed himself the very object whom
he bad been all along describing. And in order
to escape from an ideal tormentor, committed that
act for which, according to the tenets he embraced,
there was no remission, and which consigned
his memory and his name to everlasting detestation.



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Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Document Information

Document ID 125
Title Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Imaginative prose
Year of publication 1824
Wordcount 84088

Author information: Hogg, James

Author ID 234
Forenames James
Surname Hogg
AKA The Ettrick Shepherd
Gender Male
Year of birth 1770
Place of birth Ettrick, Selkirkshire, Scotland
Occupation Author, farmer, journalist
Father's occupation Farmer
Education Little formal schooling
Locations where resident Ettrick, Edinburgh