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lustre to her comely fabric, she went but it is needless to swell the present about covered with a gorgeous mau- article by giving any of them. tle, black as soot, (whence, probably, By being well acquainted with she derived her title,) and of a most those places which she frequented in aromatic perfume; for, be it known, it the way of her trade, and by consulthad adorned her tender shoulders for ing lier cronies and underlings, slie upwards of half a century, and she had had it in her power to make herself her head ornamented with a hood of mistress of all that was made the subvast dimensions, so that her whole ject of common kitchen talk about the appearance bore a nearer resemblance « affaires de cæur” amongst her best to a huge black Russian bear than to customers, the common people, so that of a human being. This attire, that, when a couple of young gawkies coupled with the singularity of her came to get their fortunes told, she natural figure, obtained her universal could avail herself of her previous incelebrity in the way of her profession. formation, by disposing of the forShe was also eminent for an insatiable tunes of each of them in such a mangreecliness to obtain money and arti- ner as she knew would suit their par. cles of food, for which she never of- ticular circumstances. Her extensive fered the least return, save, perhaps, knowledge of all that passed between a promise, such as that the cows of the lads and lasses also enabled her those who had given her any thing sometimes to surprise her customers should not fail to produce them a suf- very agreeably, by telling them who ficiency of milk, or their hens plenty were their sweethearts; and this cirof eggs; but if, on the contrary, her cumstance alone has, without doubt, requests were denied, she immediate- been the cause of confirming hesitatly hinted at her supernatural powers, ing believers in the faith of her being declaring that she would make them able to see into the labyrinths of fupay for their niggardliness in a way turity. not at all to their liking. By the ho With regard to her exploits in nest country people it was reckoned witchcraft, I am not acquainted with lucky to give her lodgings in a stable any of a particular description, such or byre during the night, or to give as I have heard being blended less her a breakfast of brose in the morn with the miraculous than those da ing, thinking that by such means they chieved by her predecessors in the art ; would obtain her favour, which was and it seeins that the country people deemed a most desirable object. Be were content with the belief of her ing generally known, and as generally having possessed a certain knowledge dreaded, she usually travelled alone, in the black art, without imputing to “ in the strength of her own great- her any great deels of witchcraft, ness,” though she had many under- though by common cousent she had lings, who assembled at certain tiines the power of performing them, for it and at certain places, to present her was deemed the height of imprudence, with the fruits of their perambula- to attempt to make the milk curdle, tions.
or the churn to produce butter, in From the many stories which tell her presence, as it was supposed, that of Eppy's adventures and exploits, if, even by accident, she set her foot she seems to have been most conspi- within the door where these operacuous in the art of fortune-telling, tions were going on, the milk would particularly when it related to the instantly be bewitched, and, instead love affairs of those whose fortunes of good butter and butter-inilk, the she was spueing ;-and I believe that honest gudewife would take from the the encouragement which was afford- churn, stuff no better than dish-water. ed to the lover, by being told of his To prevent inconvenience from thus ultimate success with the object of being obliged to postpone these nehis wishes, has been, in more instances cessary operations, it was customary than one, the means of bringing the to meet her at the door, and present love affair to a speedy conclusion in her with a quantity of oatmeal or a the bonds of Hymen.' I know many few halfpence, with which she was instances of the influence which fa- generally satisfied. The following vourable predictions have had over anecdote will illustrate her female those who were credulous enough to fortitude :-Having been seized with believe in their subsequent fulfilment; a mortification in her foot, it became
so troublesome, that she expressed a which they are usually described. desire to have it amputated. She ac- Two or three credible and intelligent cordingly desired her sister to sharpen old men might easily, by their receive a table-knife which she pointed to, ed credibility, impose upon a whole and with it to take off the foot. In “ country side," by propagating the compliance with her request, the sis- principles of such sagacious systems of ter, who probably was * tarred with physiognomy, among those who, by the same stick,” having drawn the common consent, had been taught to knife once or twice acrocs a coarse reverence whatever was delivered as freestone, commenced the operation, their venerable opinion. It is obviand soon severed the troublesoine foot ous, that, through such a channel as from her leg. She survived this de- this, these notions, and the relative licate operation only a few days. superstitions, have been handed down
There are still many old bunters from remote antiquity to our own day; going about the country pretending and even though they have descended to be skilled in fortune-telling and into an age teeming with philosophic divination, but there is none, of whom speculation and literature, the peaI have heard, of so widely extended santry who inhabit the more rural sifame as this justly celebrated Eppy tuations of Tiviotdale, venerating the Sooty.
opinions of their sires, more than the It is curious to think how people newfangled speculations of their dewho, in other respects, were of sound scendants, are still unwilling to relinjudgment, should have become so quish them. much the dupes of superstition and An acquaintance of mine told me a prejudice, as to regard deformity and story, somewhat illustrative of this, knavery as the certain indications of which I shall here relate as briefly as supernatural gifts, and to imagine, possible. Like Eppy Sooty, Samuel that decrepitude and a load of years, prided in hearing it said that with those weaknesses of intellect in- he was too familiar with unearthly cidental to those states, were the in- beings. As may be inferred from fallible manifestations of knowledge this, he was by profession a diviner, in the occult sciences.
though he never practised the art of Those who considered theniselves fortune-telling. His chief employacute in distinguishing witches from ment, and that on which he princi. those not possessed of their powers, pally depended for his livelihood, was, pretended that there were certain ma- for a pecuniary gratification, informRifestations in the form of their cra- ing people who had lost any of their nium,* by which they could be detecte property, where they would find it ed; and that the colour of their eyes again, or in whose possession it was. was of a peculiar hue, which they as That Samuel might give his oracular sumed immediately after the person answer with more certainty, he alwas initiated into the order of witch- ways required a certain time before he Caft. These phrenologists allege that returned it to those who applied for their watchings, and the fatigues his assistance, and when it was not which they underwent in their nightly in his power to divine such cases as perambulations, gave their eyes a cer were brought before him, he shifted off tain wan and ghastly appearance, easi- his applicants with evasive and indely to be distinguished from that pal- terminate answers, for which he had lid hue which the eyes acquire under a peculiar knack. At one time Mr sickness, or when the body has been -, under whom Samuel was a exerted in lawful employments; and cottar, and who was credulous enough that the frequent contortions of their to believe in every indication and mabodies, when throwing themselves in-nifestation that were pointed out to to different attitudes, and transmogri- him in evidence of Samuel's being fying themselves into different shapes, possessed of more than ordinary powitaposed upon their natural appearance ers, discovered that he had lost some that ugly and auld-wife-like mien in of his fowls, and that every night his
poultry became less numerous. SaThis is a fact well deserving the in- muel was applied to, and got his revestigation of the disciples of Gall and ward beforehand, which his master's Spurzheim. An organ of witcheraft would wrath, on account of the depredations, be worth all the rest put together. made pretty considerable. Samuel
required two days to consult his fa- ter being less " bogle-rad” than his miliar; at the end of which time he servants, (who, believing in all that informed his employers, that at twelve Samuel said, promptly refused to medo'clock at midnight, they would find dle with him,) seized the wizard, and the fowls “ under the muckle thorn- chastised him off hand with a sound bush i the stackyard.” One of the thrashing, and a refreshing bath in servants was to be at the thorn-bush, the ducks' mire. It was not, howexactly ten minutes before the hour ever, till a day or two after, that his appointed, but neither sooner nor lat- pretended witchcraft was discovered
He accordingly went as Samuel to be, what it had all along been, had directed. As the clock struck ingenious knavery. Some circumtwelve the bush began to shake, and stances had transpired which excited in a moment, the fowls, falling from suspicions that all his divinations were branch to branch, came tumbling accomplished by similar tricks; and, down upon poor David's head, who, accordingly, searching his house, thinking himself embraced by the nearly all the goods and chattels Devil, had scarcely strength remain- which had been lost in the neighbouring to run and publish the miracle hood for the preceding ten years, sa ve to the inmates of the house, who were such as had been discovered to the little less surprised at the relation owners for certain rewards, were found than David was at the adventure, for safely deposited in Samuel's secret cofhe swore the devil was in the bush, fers. Thus he and his agents first and that not such a thing as a fowl stole the goods, and then, for a sum was to be seen; he felt his prodigi- of money, restored them by supernaous wings flap in his face, and saw tural means, to those from whom they his long horns, and his cloven feet; had pilfered them. what he saw, in short, amounted to It is curious to remark the changes a complete description of Old Nick! that are made upon a simple story, Though the fowls were found next such as this, almost every time it is day, scattered under the bush, David related, for the devout faith which is could scarcely convince himself of his reposed, by the rustic narrator, in its mistake. This trick of Samuels, how- authenticity, generally leads him a ever, proved fatal to his long establish- step farther than even his information ed fame. The cord by which the warrants him to go, and in this inanfowls had been suspended over a branch ner, the story passing from one mouth of the thorn-tree, and which reached to another usually in the course of no to an adjoining stack of corn, from great number of relations, assumes which, by frequent tugs, he made quite a different character from that them and the bush to shake as be- in which it was first told, every fore described, was broken at the narrator embellishing it with whatwrong place, and a considerable part ever his own ideas, tinged with so of it found attached to the thorn, so much superstitious prejudice sugthat his master soon suspected the gest, and carefully withholding stratagem; but without revealing to every thing which may tend to exhis morc credulous servants, who cite doubts as to the reality of su
once doubted of the whole pernatural agency having been emaffair's being a miracle, what his ployed. It is in this manner that opinion of the matter was, he re- the greater number of those extravasolved to have the like experiment gant stories about wizards and witches, tried again. The result was, that which had their origin in former ages, poor Samuel was found at his post have arisen from no less simple circumbehind the stack, tugging at the stances than those of the last related cord with perfect composure and gra- story, though they have been magnivity. When he saw that he was fied, by oral tradition, into the frightlikely to be discovered, he poured ful shapes in which they are now preforth a long string ot' frightful impre- sented to us. cations, declaring that he was the de Thus, having given you as much vil in Samuel's shape, and conjured about the ancient and modern witches those who surrounded him not to of Tiviotdale as I conceive will partouch him, otherwise he would in tially illustrate the relative superstia moment consume them, with a tions, I shall bid adieu to the subject, “ fauchter o' brunstane.” The mas- reserving to my next communication
some illustrations of the ancient no- off. The freedom of the press is protions about supernatural appearances. verbial,—and wood-cuts of suspended In the mean time, I am, &c. mortality are ready, to any number,
A. M. at the shortest notice. There dangles Hawick, June 30, 1820.
a set of indistinct bodies on broken ropes, in all the rude grandeur of bad
engraving, bad ink, and bad paper. LIVING AUTHORS,
But I am straying from my subject ; A Dream.
or, to speak in fitting language, walk
ing in my sleep. “ What things have we seen, Perhaps it may not be amiss to tell Done at the Mermaid."
you, Mr Editor, the cause of the poetBEAUMONT.
ical turn my dreaming mind has London, July 21. taken, as it certainly involves in it a
few interesting particulars of certain MR EDITOR,
public men, which may amuse many THERE is a certain country gentle- of your readers. man spoken of in the Spectator, if my I am in the habit of seeking the sorecollection serve me justly, who raises ciety of literary people, and of noting money by inveterate slumbers, and their peculiarities of thought, manner, whogivesout in a steady advertisement and person, with all the strength of that he “ intends to sleep next at the observation I can command. I love Cock and Bottle;" inviting all curious to see one of the modern poets, celepeople, at so much per head, to come brated in the Reviews and Ladies' and see him in his trance. I am so schools for tender verses, fairly imfor like this worthy somnulent, that I prisoned in a circle of learned female now advise your readers I purpose critics, and beset by the sounds of sleeping this month in the columns of many tongues, and exposed to the your Magazine, and request a gerer, ogles of poetical old eyes, which roll ous public at 2s. per head to read before him as disrelishingly as peas my dreams. I confess that since I grey with age, and dimmed
with the encountered Boswell in a vision, I « lateness of the season." While Mrs have taken but profitless naps, and asks him with a whisper whehave rarely manufactured an interest- ther he has read Don Juan, and wheing sentence, or wandered into a page ther, with all its wickedness, it is not of speculation. In vain have I tried a lovely poem;"-he, in a worse to drug myself into a literary slumber, condition than the ladlye Eve, has a or to go to sleep with music in my second gentle toad pouring its flattery ears for the sake of poetical visions. and its slimy criticism in at his other Laudanum would not turn a period ear :-being the while in a mental opiates could not catch a single meta- sleep between each, and lost in indisphor,-the dying falls of music fell tinct dreams of poetry, old gentledead on my benumbed and senseless women, and tea. senses, and there seemed no sleep in I have been tolerably fortunate me. I have, however, Mr Editor, at in encountering most of our polength had a sleep, with a valuable pular authors, at seasons like to kernel of a dream in it; and as I this; not that I have ever seen them know how much you prize the mar- together in a body, like a complete vels of my pillow, I have carefully set of Mrs Barbauld's novelists, or written down the “ full, true, and Chalmers's English poets; but I have particular account," and sent it you on at one time met the worthy banker, the instant, so that, like its Newgate who versified the pleasures of memory, namesake, it may be printed, pur- at one house, and sat down with chased, and read, almost before it has Childe Harold to a vegetable dinner at been conceived or uttered. It is cu- another. I have heard, and thrilled rious on a black Monday to find about while I hear the round and rolling the obscure streets of the west end of periods come from the mouth of the the town, that a moody moral has celebrated metaphysician and poet of been wrenched out of a malefactor's the age, as from an ocean cavern, mouth, and his untimely end and grand-deep-eternal; or as from the mournful confessions recorded long sea itself. He, of the pet lamb,” before he has had his irons knocked has been before my eyes more than
once with his solemn visage and more tions” of applause, rising lightly from solemn discourse; not only in a room, French gloves and green benches
. but in Mr Haydon's“ great picture,” Poetical enthusiasm must hide itself -though in the latter he differs from in woods and solitudes by day. It that which he is in the former,-be- abhors Albemarle Street. The only ing there bowed down with humility. passage of Mr Campbell's Lecture He finds sermons in every thing. that seemed to stir the hearts of his Nevertheless, he is “ a great person- andience, in good truth, was his deage," and would be greater, if he did scription of his first sight of the Apol. not think himself the greatest. The lo Belvidere in the Louvre at Paris. writer of John Woodvil I have known It told upon the fashionables before well, and commend me to him for the him, because they had all seen, in the vigour of his judgment, the nicety of common course of their life, the stahis taste, and the fine severity of his tue as he described it, and they now wit. He cuts with his tongue the ta- flattered themselves with believing mours of men's minds. His discourse that they had contemplated it with amongst that of other men “ sticks the same poetical idolatry and dreamfiery off indeed.” He is a bright ing wonder of which he spake. The little man,--the stiletto of conversa- allusion was to a figure in France, tion.
where they themselves had often cut I remember sitting in the same one,—and that was enough. It was box with Mr Moore at Covent Garden of Apollo, and they believed him to Theatre, on an evening when John be a god and a gentleman. There Kemble played Zanga in Dr Young's was a flutter amongst the ribbons and Tragic Sermon upon Revenge. It silks, as though an unexpected gust was just before the publication of of poetry had passed through them; Lallah Rookh, when all London was and the old gentlemen tapped the on tiptoe to catch the first flutter of floor with livelier canes, and nodded those Arabian leaves, and when the approval with heads of thrice brightwest end of the town stood peeping ened powder. with an anxious eye (as Justice Meta I fear, Mr Editor, I am rather phor would say) in at the dusty win- straying from my subject, but it is dows and dim warehouse of Messrs almost impossible to speak of the Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and “ great men of the age,” without beBrown, to watch the progress towards coming garrulous and fond over the publication of the Tales of the East. recollections that attend them. They I remember the evening well, for I rise on the memory with attendant, had rude curiosity enough to listen lights-) revel in the recollections of to the remarks he made to his lady- many authors. In short, there are friends, and to note his “ ways of few of the modern writers whom I pleasantness.” He will remember have not seen, at some time or other. Zanga : I saw one who reminded me And it is my constant custom, as more of the East; and I remember much so as the senior Mr Hamlet's little of Zanga. His eyes sparkle in habit of taking an afternoon's nap unhis head like two good things, and his der the golden pippin and black heart seems dancing to the music of cherry trees in his orchard at Denits own feelings.
mark, to write in a ruled commonI have seen Mr Campbell at the place-book (of a reasonable size, neatRoyal Society's House, lecturing in ly bound, ordered after the method of mid-day, on poetry, to powdered the great Mr Locke, to be had of two heads, clouded canes, extensive bon- worthy booksellers, yclept Taylor and nets, and flowered pelisses. His in- Hessey, 93, Fleet Street, price only telligent countenance, and slight Scot- 12s.) my observations of the day, paitish accent, gave an interest to his ticularly of the literary gentlemen readings from the poets, which I can- whom it is in my good fortune to ennot describe ; but the time of day counter,-not omitting the cut of was as unfit for poetry in a room, as their clothes, or the colours of their King John has declared it to be for conversation. I am thus enabled to the deeper accomplishment of murder. refresh myself on a wet afternoon, or Enthusiasm cannot stand a glaring a chilly Sunday morning, with paysun through a skylight,-nor are its ing a visit to Mr Rogers-indulging nerves assured by the “gentle crea- in the amiable and benevolent re