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NOTES TO VOLUME IV.
NOTE A, p. 136.–TAPPIT HEN.
The Tappit Hen contained three quarts of claret
Weel she lo'ed a Hawick gill,
And leugh to see a Tappit Hen.
I have seen one of these formidable stoups at Provost Haswell's, at Jedburgh, in the days of yore. It was a pewter measure,
the claret being in ancient days served from the tap, and had the figure of a hen upon the lid. In later times, the name was given to a glass bottle of the same dimensions. These are rare appari. tions among the degenerate topers of modern days.
Note B, p. 136.—Convivial HABITS OF THE SCOTTISH Bar.
The account given by Mr. Pleydell, of his sitting down in the midst of a revel to draw an appeal case, was taken from a story told me by an aged gentleman, of the elder President Dundas of Arniston (father of the younger President, and of Lord Melville). It had been thought very desirable, while that distinguished lawyer was King's counsel, that his assistance should be obtained in drawing an appeal case, which, as occasion for such writings then rarely occurred, was held to be matter of great nicety. The solicitor employed for the appellant, attended by my informant acting as his clerk, went to the Lord Advocate's chambers in the Fishmarket Close, as I think. It was Saturday at noon, the Court was just dismissed, the Lord Advocate had changed his dress and booted himself, and his servant and horses were at the
foot of the close to carry him to Arniston. It was scarcely possible to get him to listen to a word respecting business. The wily agent, however, on pretence of asking one or two questions, which would not detain him half an hour, drew his Lordship, who was no less an eminent bon vivant than a lawyer of unequalled talent, to take a whet at a celebrated tavern, when the learned counsel became gradually involved in a spirited discussion of the law points of the case. At length it occurred to him, that he might as well ride to Arniston in the cool of the evening. The horses were directed to be put in the stable, but not to be unsaddled. Dinner was ordered, the law was laid aside for a time, and the bottle circulated very freely. At nine o'clock at night, after he had been honouring Bacchus for so many hours, the Lord Advocate ordered his horses to be unsaddled, -paper, pen, and ink were brought-he began to dictate the appeal case-and continued at his task till four o'clock the next morning. By next day's post, the solicitor sent the case to London, a chef-d'oeuvre of its kind; and in which, my informant assured me, it was not necessary on revisal to correct five words. I am not, therefore, conscious of having overstepped accuracy in describing the manner in which Scottish lawyers of the old time occasionally united the worship of Bacchus with that of Themis. My informant was Alexander Keith, Esq., grandfather to my friend, the present Sir Alexander Keith of Ravelstone, and apprentice at the time to the writer who conducted the cause.
NOTE C, p. 264.-LORD MONBODDO.
The Burnet, whose taste for the evening meal of the ancients is quoted by Mr. Pleydell, was the celebrated metaphysician and excellent man, Lord Monboddo, whose coence will not be soon forgotten by those who have shared his classic hospitality. As a Scottish Judge, he took the designation of his family estate. His philosophy, as is well known, was of a fanciful and somewhat fantastic character; but his learning was deep, and he was possessed of a singular power of eloquence, which reminded the hearer of the os rotundum of the Grove or Academe. Enthusiastically partial to classic habits, his entertainments were always
NOTES TO GUY MANNERING
given in the evening, when there was a circulation of excellent Bourdeaux, in flasks garlanded with roses, which were also strewed on the table after the manner of Horace. The best society, whether in respect of rank or literary distinction, was always to be found in St. John's Street, Canongate. The conversation of the excellent old man, his high, gentleman-like, and chivalrous spirit, the learning and wit with which he defended his fanciful paradoxes, and the kind and liberal spirit of his hospitality, must render these noctes coenceque dear to all who, like the author (though then young), had the honour of sitting at his board.
NOTE D, p. 267.-LAWYERS' SLEEPLESS Nights.
It is probably true, as observed by Counsellor Pleydell, that a lawyer's anxiety about his case, supposing him to have been some time in practice, will seldom disturb his rest or digestion. Clients will, however, sometimes fondly entertain a different opinion. I was told by an excellent judge, now no more, of a country gentleman, who, addressing his leading counsel, my informer, then an advocate in great practice, on the morning of the day on which the case was to be pleaded, said, with singular bonhomie, “Weel, my lord (the counsel was Lord Advocate), the awful day is come at last. I have nae been able to sleep a wink for thinking of it-nor, I daresay, your lordship either.”
END OF GUY MANNERING.
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