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«I did not think to die yet-I'm glad the parson has been.' 'Shall I send for him again?' said the son.
No, no,' replied the venerable parent; he will be for giving me the sacrament, and then there will be another bottle of wine to uncork. Lord have mercy upon me-that last high wind played the devil with the old pig-sty. I die in charity with all men ; but insist upon Thomas Trueman being turned out of his farm, for not voting as I ordered him. Bury me by your inother; she lies quiet now. I go home and ask forgiveness. I know many people will say I am gone to Old Nick; but if I go there I'll be banged. Patch up the old barn, and try it once more-luck's all. Make much of precious time; and, Blunder, sell off the old mare; sbe's not worth keeping, but you need not tell your chapman that-he'll soon'”
CLERICAL WIT. Atterbury, opposing a bill in the 'House of Peers, said that " he prophesied, last winter, that this bill would be attempted in the present sessions, and he was sorry to find that he had proved a true prophet.” Lord Coningsby, who always spoke in a passion, reinarked that “ one of the Right Reverends had set himself forth as a prophet; but for his part, he did not know what prophet to liken him to, unless to that furious prophet, Balaam, who was reproved by his own ass.”. The bishop, in a reply, with great wit and calmness exposed this rude attack, concluding that, “ Since the noble lord hath discovered in our manners such a similitude, I am well content to be compared to the prophet Balaam ; but, my lords, I am at a loss how to make out the other part of the parallel. I am sure that I have been reproved by nobody but his lordship."
CURE FOR SUPERSTITION. Miners are known to be a superstitious race. Their superstition, however, is sometimes made a pretext for idleness. There is a recipe for curing this species of disorder. In some extensive mines in Wales, the men
frequently saw the devil, and when once he had been seen, the men would work no more that day. This evil became serious, for Old Beelzebub repeated his visits as often as if he had a design to injure the proprietor. That gentleman at last called his men together, told them that it was very certain that the devil never appeareri to any body who had not deserved to be so terrified, and that as he was determined to keep no rogues about him, he was resolved to discharge the first man that saw the devil again. The remedy was as efficient as if he had turned a stream of holy water into the mines.
PICTURE OF A SCOTTISH GENTLEWOMAN
OF THE LAST CENTURY.
“ Though last, not least of nature's works, I must now introduce you to a friend of mine," said Mr. Douglas, as they bent their steps towards the Castlehill of Edinburgh. “Mrs. Violet Macshake is an aunt of my mother's, whom you must often have heard of, and the last remaining branch of the noble race of Girnachgowl.”
"I am afraid she is rather a formidable person then?" said Mary.
Her uncle hesitated No, not formidable, --only rather particular, as all old people are; but she is very good-hearted.”
“I understand, in other words, she is very disagreeable. All ill-tempered people, I observe, have the character of being good-hearted, or else all good-hearted people are ill-tempered, I can't tell which." : " It is more than reputation with her,” said Mr. Douglas, somewhat angrily; “ for she is, in reality, a very good-hearted woman, as I experienced when a boy at college. Many a crown piece and half-guinea I used to get from her. Many a scold, to be sure, went along with them; but that, I dare say, I deserved.
Besides, she is very rich, and I am her reputed heir ; therefore gratitude and self-interest combine to render her extremely amiable in my estimation."
They had now reached the airy dwelling where Mrs. Macshake resided, and having rung, the door was at length most deliberately opened by an ancient, sourvisaged, long-waisted female, who ushered them into an apartment, the coup d'oeil of which struck a chill to Mary's heart. It was a good-sized room, with a bare sufficiency of small-legged dining tables, and lank haircloth chairs, ranged in high order round the walls. Although the season was advanced, and the air piercing cold, the grate stood smiling in all the charms of polished steel ; and the mistress of the mansion was seated by the side of it in an arm-chair, still in its summer position. She appeared to have no other occupation than what her own meditations afforded; for a single glance sufficed to show that not a vestige of book or work was harboured there. She was a tall, large-boned woman, whom even Time's iron hand had scarcely bent, as she merely stooped at the shoulders. She had a drooping snuffy nosema long turn'd-up chin-small quick gray eves--and her face projected far beyond her figure, with an expression of shrewd restless curiosity. She wore a mode (not à-la-mode) bonnet, and cardinal of the same; a pair of clogs over her shoes, and black silk mittens on her arms.
As soon as she recognised Mr. Douglas, she welcomed hiin with much cordiality, shook him long and heartily by the hand--patted him on the back-looked into his face with much seeming satisfaction; and, in short, gave all the demonstrations of gladness usual with gentlewomen of a certain age. Her pleasure, however, appeared to be rather an impromptu than an habitual feeling ; for as the surprise wore off, her visage resuined its harsh and sarcastic expression, and she seemed eager to efface any agreeable impression her reception might have excited.
is An wha thought o’seein you enoo',” said she, in a quick gabbling voice; “what's brought you to the toon?
are ye come to spend your honest faither's siller, ere he's weel cauld in his grave, puir man?"
Mr. Douglas explained, that it was upon account of his niece's health.
“ Health !" repeated she, with a sardonic smile, “ it wad mak' an howlet laugh to hear the wark that's inade aboot young fowk's health noo-a-days. I wonder what ye're aw made o',” grasping Mary's arm in her great bony hand—“ a wheen puir feckless windlestraes-ye maun awa to Ingland for yer healths.-Set ye up!- 1 wunder what cam' o' the lasses i' my time, that but to bide at hame? And whilk o'ye, I sude like to ken, 'll e'er leive to see ninety-sax, like me-Health! he, he!"
“ You have not asked after any of your Glenfern friends,” said Mr. Douglas, hoping to touch a more sympathetic chord.
" Time eneugh-wull ye let me draw my breath, man-fowk canna say aw thing at ance. An' ye but to hae an Inglish wife tu, a Scotch lass wad no serr ye-An' yer weau, l'se warran', it's ane o' the warld's wunders—it's been unca lang o' cummin'-he, he!”
" He has begun life under very melancholy auspices, poor fellow !” said Mr. Douglas, in allusion to his father's death.
“ An' whas faut was that?-I ne'er heard tell the like o't, to hae the bairn kirsened an' its grandfather deein'? But fowk are naither born, nor kirsened, nor do they wad or dee as they used to du-aw thing's changed.”
- You must indeed have witnessed many changes," observed Mr. Douglas, rather at a loss how to utter any thing of a conciliatory nature.
“ Changes !--weel a wat, I sometimes wunder if it's the same waurld, an' if it's my ain heed that's upon my shoothers.”
“ But with these changes you must also have seen many improvements ?" said Mary, in a tone of diffidence.
" Impruvements !" turning sharply round upon her, “ what ken ye 'about impruvements, bairn ? à bonny impruvement or ens no, to see tyleyors and sclaters leaven' whar I mind Jewks and Yerls-An' that great
glowrin' new toon there," pointing out of her windows,
whar I used to sit and look at bonny green parks, and see the kve milket, and the bits o' bairnies rowin' an' tummlin', an' the lasses trampin' i' their tubs—What see I noo but stane an' lime, an' stoor an' dirt, an' idle cheels, an' dinket-out madams prancin'.-Impruvements indeed!”
Here a long pinch of snuff caused a pause in the old lady's harangue; but after having duly wiped her nose with her coloured handkerchief, and shook off all the particles that might be presumed to have lodged upon her cardinal, she resumed
" An' nae word o' ony o' your sisters gawn to get husbands yet? They teil me they're but coorse lasses; an' wha'll tak ill-farred tocherless queans, when there's walth o' bonny faces an' lang purses i' the market-he, he!” Then resuming her scrutiny of Mary~" An' I'se warren ye'll be lucken for an Inglish sweatheart tu; that'll be what's takin' ye awa to Ingland.”
“On the contrary,” said Mr. Douglas, seeing Mary was too much frightened to answer for herself—"on the contrary, Mary declares she will never marry any but a true Highlander; one who wears the dirk and plaid, and has the second-sight. And the nuptials are to be celebrated with all the pomp of feudal times; with bagpipes and bonfires, and gatherings of clans, and roasted sheep, and barrels of whisky, and
“Weel a wat an' she's i' the right there," interrupted Mrs. Macshake, with more complacency than she had yet shown,-" They may caw them what they like, but there's nae waddins now. Wha's the better o' them but innkeepers and chaise-drivers? I wud nae count mysel married i’ the hiddlins way they gang about it noo."
Mr. Douglas, who was now rather tired of the old lady's reminiscences, availed himself of the opportunity of a fresh pinch, to rise and take leave. . “Ou, what's takin ye awa, Archie, in sic a hurry? Sit doon there,” laying her hand upon his arm, “an' rest ye, an' tak a glass o'wine; or may be," turning to Mary, “ye wad rather hae a drap broth to warm ye.